Civic Engagement

Raising Conservation Awareness through Minecraft Aquatic Game for World Oceans Day

Monday, June 04, 2018 Comment update aquatic minecraft screenshot

In an effort to raise awareness of marine conservation, the Ocean Institute, Connected Camps and the Connected Learning Alliance are inviting young people to take part in a Minecraft social media activation on World Oceans Day June 8. A video, featuring Minecraft’s new Aquatic Update and fun facts curated by the Ocean Institute, will debut on Connected Camps’ social media channels — YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Kids will be encouraged to watch and share the video using the hashtag, #WorldOceansDay, in their own social media posts throughout the day. And, to top off the collaboration, the


Preparing Youth for Online Civic, Political Action

Monday, April 30, 2018 Comment TCscreenshot

The internet is where many young people get their news and express their own perspectives on civic and political issues. So, how can educators prepare them to be heard in an informed and impactful way in today’s digital age? Several new Teaching Channel videos provide some great ideas and examples of what’s possible. For example, in one video, featuring a lesson on creating digital stories, students in high school English teacher Janelle Bence’s class, share what they learn from the lesson. One of the students says: “This generation is just a techie generation, you know? Including


Media and Civic Engagement: Growing Youth Enthusiasm

Monday, March 19, 2018 Comment Constitution

Democracy is not just about choosing your own leaders. Democracy can only take root in a population that is free enough and educated enough to discuss issues, form public opinion, and influence policy. The public sphere is one of information. As James Madison, “the father of the U.S. Constitution” at age 36 put it (in words now carved in marble at the Library of Congress): “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And


Young People’s Nonpolitical Online Activity Supports Democratic Life

Monday, March 12, 2018 Comment

Emma González, a high school student from Parkland, now has more Twitter followers than the NRA. Indeed, numerous students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have turned the social media skills and practices they use every day into tools that enable political impact. While their traumatic experience is tragically extreme, their example sheds light on a more general process: When digital skills and social networks are joined with a motivation to effect change, they become potent political resources. Our study of youth social media practices and politics indicates that this dynamic is more common and more


Educating for Democracy: What We Can Do

Monday, January 08, 2018 Comment Educating for Democracy

Teresa Chin works with youth in downtown Oakland, Calif. at Youth Radio — a media production company driven by young people. One thing she works with youth on is the development of first-person commentaries. She wants them to learn how to draw on their life experiences in order to share their perspective on a societal issue with a broad audience. As Teresa explains, “Commentaries are a really powerful tool for civic engagement. Your story is how you can get people to build empathy and understanding.” Here is a video of how Teresa does this as well


How Young Activists Deploy Digital Tools for Social Change

Monday, September 25, 2017 Comment activists

Nabela Noor, a young American Muslim Youtube personality, was born of Bangladeshi parents and had developed a large following based on her make-up tutorials and fashion advice. Frustrated by what she saw as Islamaphobic discourse in American society, intensified by Donald Trump’s candidacy for president, she recorded and shared with her followers a powerful statement, “Dear America.” Speaking directly to the camera, the 22 year old describes herself as “an American through and through” who is also a Muslim, shared the ways her schoolmates responded differently to her after 9/11, and discussed the chilling climate her


Digital Citizenship in Children’s Books

Monday, July 17, 2017 Comment girls reading books

I recently received a gift package from Alan Levine, a friend from Arizona. Two of my favorite items from the package are ones that I think are sort of gifts for my daughter, but really intended for me. These two items, I felt, give nods to digital citizenship. The first is “Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type.” As is clear from the title, it’s a book about cows that type. Not only do they type, but they use their typing to communicate with the farmer, to make demands. When he doesn’t respond, their demands turn to


Critical Literacy, Civic Engagement and Connected Learning in the Classroom

Monday, April 17, 2017 Comment poem

I am on a personal crusade to make civic education the responsibility of every teacher regardless of subject area, despite the fact that it is consistently assumed to be the concern of social studies teachers alone. I believe that the way to accomplish this paradigm shift is to move away from a focus on discrete civic learning opportunities that engage students in particular projects geared only toward formal politics and instead turn toward the idea that what takes place in classrooms on an everyday basis — what we study, how we talk to each other, what we


Watchworthy Wednesday: UCI Dreamers Take a Stand, Help Each Other

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 Comment ballet folklorico

As a junior computer science major at the University of California, Irvine, she felt “hopeless” watching fellow classmates landing scholarships, federal financial aid and paid internships. “I could not do the same things due to my status,” the student noted. Undocumented students are not eligible for most scholarships because they require U.S. citizenship or residency status. But, thanks to a fundraising effort, created and organized by UCI’s undocumented students themselves, they are raising money and awareness to help each other get through school successfully. With the support of the campus community and generous donors, the students


Watchworthy Wednesday: How You Could Win $250,000 for Being Disobedient

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 Comment MIT Award

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s words — “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” — open MIT’s Media Lab video, inviting nominations for its Rewarding Disobedience Award. The award, which comes with a no-strings-attached $250,000 cash prize, will go to a living individual or group engaged in “an extraordinary example of disobedience for the benefit of society.” From the award description: The MIT Media Lab Disobedience Award seeks to highlight effective, responsible, ethical disobedience across disciplines, and around the world. Disobedience Award objectives are to build awareness and support of disobedience-robust work being done, and