Civic Engagement

‘Connected Learning’ in Edge Communities

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 Comment 3 youth filmmakers working together on video camera

For more than nine weeks now I have been working with a high school in the Central Texas area, getting to know students, teachers, and administrators.  Along with a fantastic team of graduate students, we are spending time with an after school digital media club that offers students a range of opportunities to hang out, mess around and geek out.  I have also been working directly with two video game development classes on a project we think will offer some insights into creating new kinds of learning environments, learner identities, and youth civic engagement. Part of


Media, Youth Activism & Participatory Politics: Case Studies in a Digital Age

Friday, November 04, 2011 Comment Education not deportation immigration reform rally protest women marching with signs

The growing use of digital media for social change is nourishing a dialogue about its impact on young people’s involvement in civic and political affairs. The Media Activism Participatory Politics (MAPP) project, an undertaking of the MacArthur Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP), was created to further that conversation by examining youth-led organizations that encourage productive forms of participation in the public sphere. MAPP’s case study on the DREAM activist movement is the first of four case studies from Henry Jenkins’ Civic Paths project at the University of Southern California. The four projects examine exemplary


In Search of the Other: Decoding Digital Natives

Monday, October 24, 2011 Comment Occupy your future sign on ground during protest rally

This is the first post of a research inquiry that questions the ways in which we have understood the Youth-Technology-Change relationship in the contemporary digital world, especially through the identity of ‘Digital Native’. Drawing from three years of research and current engagements in the field, the post begins a critique of how we need to look at the outliers, the people on the fringes in order to unravel the otherwise celebratory nature of discourse about how the digital is changing the world. In this first post, I chart the trajectories of our research at the Centre


Digital Opportunities for Civic Education

Friday, October 21, 2011 Comment digital democracy group meeting and working together

Earlier this year, Professor Joseph Kahne and a group of civic learning scholars announced a key finding from a study of student Internet usage: youth who pursue their interests online are more likely to be engaged in civic and political issues. On Thursday, at a day-long symposium in Washington, D.C., called “Civic 2.0: Citizenship Education for a New Generation,” Kahne, an education professor at Mills College and Chair of the MacArthur Network on Youth and Participatory Politics (YPP), drew from this study and three additional studies to discuss the digital opportunities for civic education and engagement. Some


Learning, Freedom, Youth, and the Web: Brazil

Monday, October 10, 2011 Comment girl holding up camera phone in crowd taking a photo

Freedom of speech and social mobilization is new for many countries in Latin America. Most have had closed governments and dictatorships for the last 30 years. However, because of the spread of social media, political action, protests and activism have flourished. In Chile, for example, students have been leading protests demanding educational reform. Reports say more than 400,000 people have gathered in several of these marches. The protests, which have been drawing students to Plaza Italia in Santiago, have been organized with Twitter (for example, the umbrella march, when students protested under the rain and cold), Facebook


Seeing the Classroom as a Hub of Technology-enabled Social Change

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 Comment students sitting together in classroom working as a learning hub

Antero Garcia, who teaches English at a high school in South Central Los Angeles, is a PhD candidate, focusing on critical literacies and civic identity through the use of mobile media and game play. He utilizes his classroom as a center of youth participatory action research. His students assess and address real-life needs in their South Central community. Garcia is on the conference committee for the 2012 Digital Media & Learning Conference in San Francisco, Calif: “Beyond Educational Technology: Learning Innovations in a Connected World.” Garcia is heading up one of four important sub-themes in the


Four Questions about Civic Media

Monday, June 27, 2011 Comment man holding up sign saying Egypt using social media icons during protest

The civic media field is often better defined by example than in abstractions. The field is so nascent and fluid that any comprehensive, conceptual definition will likely miss key aspects of the field. For those of us who believe civic media – the various ways communities create, find and share actionable information – is transforming media and civic life, exciting examples are always an opportunity to think about the future of the field.


Digital Learning and the Arab Spring

Thursday, June 23, 2011 Comment close up of computer keyboard

As revolution and revolt spreads across the Arab world, Americans often see social networking sites and online video as playing a starring role. Whether it is testimony about police brutality or jubilation in the squares, examples of so-called witness journalism captured by cell phone cameras, webcams, and other mobile devices have made many citizens feel more engaged with the political plight of those struggling against authoritarian regimes in the Middle East.


How does Digital Media impact Youth Political and Civic Engagement?

Thursday, May 26, 2011 Comment women with pink hair taking a photo on digital camera

There’s a lot of conversation about young people’s use of digital media and how it impacts their engagement — or lack of engagement — in civic affairs and politics, but not a great deal of empirical work has been done. Until now. Joseph Kahne is the chair of a newly-formed research network, Youth and Participatory Politics (YaPP), that is looking at the ways youth are using digital media and the Internet to engage in meaningful ways in civic affairs and social issues. I had an opportunity to talk with Kahne about his latest research findings and


What Should Civic Learning Look Like in an Age of Social and Technological Change?

Monday, April 25, 2011 Comment 2 kids working on computer together in classroom

Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and her iCivics team recently convened a thought provoking conference, Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age. In partnership with the Aspen Institute, Georgetown Law, and the MacArthur Foundation the conference raised a number of questions regarding the state of civic education. Concerned about the declining state of civic education in American schools, Justice O’Connor assembled a team to create a digital platform, iCivics, for use in formal and informal learning environments. iCivics is a games-based platform and civic curriculum designed to meet students where they are—in the gaming