Educating for Democracy

Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age

Educators play a vital role in preparing youth to be thoughtful and active participants in our democracy. But it’s often hard to know where to start and how best to integrate civic learning. In this Deep Dive, developed in partnership with the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of CA, Riverside, we’ve curated a collection of videos, blogs, educational resources, and relevant research to support educators in and out of schools in preparing youth to participate fully and thoughtfully in civic and political life in the digital age.

What's New?

Check out these new videos highlighting various classroom strategies for preparing youth for civics and politics in the digital age:

Creating Digital Stories: Find out how students created digital stories that illustrate their American identity.

Tweet to Share Your Learning: See how students reflect on what they learned by formulating a brief but compelling tweet.

Writing Commentaries: The Power of Youth Voice: Learn about how students begin to write a commentary about an issue they care about.

Spark Your Persuasive Writing: 3 Simple Prompts: Watch how this teacher uses three simple questions to draw out ideas that students can write about.

What is Civic Learning?

Civic learning is a process through which young people develop the knowledge, skills, and commitments to interact effectively with others, improve their communities and the broader society, and participate in democracy. New skills and dispositions are needed to help youth fully leverage new opportunities for effective participation while navigating new challenges. Watch this video to learn more about what civic engagement is and to find out how teachers in Oakland Unified School District are integrating civic learning throughout the district.

To receive updates on new resources and information about civic learning, follow @Ed4Democracy on Twitter and sign up for the Educating for Democracy newsletter.

Essential Questions

Ready to learn more about how to educate for democracy? These essential questions touch on core civic practices. By exploring the questions and diving into the resources below, you will find ways to integrate civic learning across content areas and grade levels.

INVESTIGATION & RESEARCH
How do I help students research issues that matter to them?

CIVIC KNOWLEDGE
How do I further students’ civic knowledge and understanding?

DISCUSSION
How do I help students have productive discussions about current and controversial issues?

VOICE
How can students voice their perspective on issues that matter to them?

ACTION
What are effective ways to take action in the digital age?

CIVIC ASSESSMENTS
How do I assess my students’ civic learning?

Preparing Youth for Civics & Politics in the Digital Age

Learn how you can support young people to navigate civics and politics in the digital age and how you can prepare your students to become thoughtful and effective participants in our democracy.

Digital Civics Toolkit for Educators

The Digital Civics Toolkit is a collection of resources for educators to support youth in exploring a range of civic opportunities and dilemmas via 5 modules focused on: Exploring Community Issues, Investigation, Dialogue, Voice, and Action.

The PARTICIPATE module provides activities that invite youth to explore their face-to-face and online communities and to identify civic issues that are relevant to people in their local communities and in the wider world.

Meet the Civic Engagement Teacher Laureate

Heather Van Benthuysen — the latest Teacher Laureate at the Teaching Channel--will be sharing resources and tools as well as provocative reflection questions focused on how to build democratic classrooms and integrate civic engagement across grade levels and content areas. To learn more about Heather’s background, how she got started in civics, why she thinks integrating civic learning in the classroom is critical, and the resources she will be sharing on the Teaching Channel, read this introductory blog post and watch our recent conversation with her.

Read the blog posts written by Heather by visiting her Teacher Laureate page here.

Learn More

To learn more and find additional resources, check out our curated list of relevant, high-quality, civic learning materials from national civic education organizations. Click here to see a list of organizations.

About this Deep Dive

This Deep Dive was developed through a collaboration between the Teaching Channel and the Civic Engagement Research Group (CERG) at the University of California, Riverside. We will be updating this collection on an ongoing basis. To receive updates on new resources and information about civic learning, follow @Ed4Democracy on Twitter and sign up for the Educating for Democracy newsletter.

Special Thanks

To the Hearst Foundations, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for funding our work and helping promote the importance of teaching for democracy.

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