Civic Engagement

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


Watchworthy Wednesday: The Importance of Media Literacy in Partisan Times

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Comment

“It’s crucial that we cultivate students’ ability to judge the credibility of online political content and build their commitment to carefully assessing such content.” — Joseph Kahne and Benjamin Bowyer Taken from research by Joseph Kahne, the Ted and Jo Dutton Presidential Chair in educational policy and politics at UC Riverside, chair of the MacArthur Foundation Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP) Research Network and director of the Civic Engagement Research Group, and Benjamin Bowyer, political science lecturer at Santa Clara University, the infographic above points to the importance of media literacy today as partisanship is dramatically


Online Tools That Foster Civic Engagement

Thursday, March 09, 2017 Comment screenshot of usa.gov website

As my colleague, Antero Garcia, explained in a DML Central post last month, we are working together to produce a web series that provides educators with tools and tips to support civically-engaged pedagogy in their classrooms and beyond. Sponsored by the Studies of Literacy and Multimedia (SLAM) Assembly within the National Council of Teachers of English, SLAM School aims to offer demonstrations of useful strategies in 30 minutes or less. A few weeks ago, I led a class on how (and why) to interact with your elected representatives. I want to share some of what I


Watchworthy Wednesday: Fighting for the Arts

Wednesday, March 01, 2017 Comment arts cake

With the arts potentially on the federal funding chopping block, Americans for the Arts Action Fund has mobilized to heighten awareness of the benefits provided by the arts. It has released the below infographic, spelling out the value of the arts to jobs and the economy, and announced various civic engagement actions. Among the infographic highlights: The arts and culture sector is a $730 billion industry, representing 4.2 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product — a larger share of the economy than construction ($672 billion) or transportation and ($510 billion), according to the U.S. Bureau of


Watchworthy Wednesday: About Frederick Douglass

Wednesday, February 08, 2017 Comment Frederick Douglass

Have you seen the Frederick Douglass memes all over social media? They mostly take aim at President Donald J. Trump for his brief comment on the first day of Black History Month this year. “Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job, that is being recognized more and more, I notice,” Trump said, leading people to speculate whether the president knows who Douglass was.  Douglass, the civil rights icon who escaped slavery and fought for human rights until his death in 1895, has been trending on Twitter and other sites as people


Travel Ban, Muslim Scholars and How to Help

Monday, February 06, 2017 Comment protestors protesting Muslim ban

Everyone is talking about the impact of the Executive Order from Trump to ban citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. The big tragedy is, of course, families who are unable to be reunited. But, universities are also affected, and people are trying to do what they can to express their disagreement with the executive order: Arab students are unable to go back to their campuses. In solidarity, some academics are considering boycotting U.S. conferences. Several institutions are considering moving conferences to other places. For example, Digital Pedagogy Lab is considering creating an event