Youth & Participatory Politics

This Political Moment: Resources for Educators in the Trump Era

Monday, June 26, 2017 Comment Political Parties Crossroads Sign Democrat and Republican

Educators have long been responsible for supporting the growth and development of all young people. The job of designing engaging lessons, promoting respectful discussion, creating an inclusive classroom, and preparing youth for life in democratic society is never an easy one. We expect educators to perform these and countless other feats on a daily basis. And, this particular political moment is especially challenging. Characterized by record-high indicators of polarization and ideological discord among our major political parties, this political moment has made educators’ routine job duties remarkably challenging and ever-important. What follows is a brief overview


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


Watchworthy Wednesday: How to Make Digital Civic Change

Wednesday, November 02, 2016 Comment ypp

The Youth and Participatory Politics Research Network has debuted a new website, featuring its “Action Frame” — 10 questions designed to guide young people on how to make civic change in this digital age. From the website: Sixties activists insisted the personal is political. Change-makers in the digital age get that idea, and one-up it with another rallying cry: the political is social and cultural. Your platforms and digital strategies need to make this principle count, so that you, your peers, and your audiences engage each other, and the allies you all want, in high-quality, equitable,


Writing for Public Purpose

Monday, October 03, 2016 Comment class

This current back-to-school season is no doubt marked in tangible ways by a contentious presidential election cycle. I find myself wondering how much this indubitable backdrop will play a role in the learning that actually takes place in many classrooms. How much do the real world concerns of the day become an opportunity to help students become critical thinkers who learn to listen to others? Research and school time devoted to civic issues that engage student interest and ignite student passion can certainly represent powerful learning experiences. But, we often fall short of this opportunity in


Redesigning Civic Education for the Digital Age

Thursday, August 11, 2016 Comment teens using a tablet

“Ms. Tate asked the ninth graders in her social studies class in Oakland to choose a contemporary issue related to a social movement they had studied and to develop their own Taking Action Plan. One student used Facebook to show her peers that feminism is still relevant today. On her Facebook page, she circulated links to information and thought-provoking memes about the status of women in today’s society. Another student produced a music video about marriage equality that she circulated to her networks on YouTube in order to raise awareness about gay rights. The ease with


How to Answer John Gardner’s Challenge

Monday, November 23, 2015 Comment inspirational quote by john w gardner about young people

John W. Gardner (1912-2001, no relation) was the most impressive public citizen of my time. Trained as a psychologist, president of the Carnegie Foundation at an early age, and a dedicated public servant who served as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare in the cabinet of President Lyndon Johnson, Gardner achieved his most important influence in the latter part of his life, as a private citizen. He launched and helped guide important initiatives like Common Cause, the Independent Sector, the White House Fellowship, and Encore; of equal importance, he served as a role model and mentor


Engaging Youth: 7 ‘Epic’ Tips

Monday, April 07, 2014 Comment 6 young people on video conference call together for ypp

“The irony is the more personal your story is, the more universal it is. And, the more you keep that nuance that makes your story personal, the more it will spread,” Nirvan Mullick, the founder of Imagination Foundation noted during a webinar podcast earlier this year. Mullick spoke from experience. “Caine’s Arcade,” a short documentary film he released in 2009, became an overnight internet grassroots-driven sensation and inspired a movement of youth-driven “cardboard creativity.” This success led Mullick to eventually launch the Imagination Foundation, a nonprofit organization with a mission to “find, foster and fund creativity


The “New Civics,” the “Good Citizen,” and the “Born Digital” Generation

Thursday, August 22, 2013 Comment people working on laptops in home livingroom

With Rewire out in the world, I’ve had some time this August to think about some of the big questions behind our work at Center for Civic Media, specifically the questions I started to bring up at this year’s Digital Media and Learning Conference: How do we teach civics to a generation that is “born digital?” Are we experiencing a “new civics,” a crisis in civics, or just an opportunistic rebranding of old problems in new digital bottles? My reading this summer hasn’t given me answers, but has sharpened some of the questions. Earlier this summer,


Beyond “The Crisis in Civics”

Thursday, March 28, 2013 Comment large audience watching presentation of measuring symbolism and impact

Two weeks ago, I gave the opening keynote at the Digital Media and Learning Conference in Chicago. The conference, which explores how digital media is and could be changing education and learning, focused on the theme of “Democratic Futures: Mobilizing Voices and Remixing Youth Participation.” In the spirit of the theme, my talk examined how digital media is changing how we participate in the civic life of our communities and the world as a whole, and how we might teach a new digital civics. This is an issue I’ve been thinking through since coming to the Center for


Is Civics in Crisis? Or Just Changing its Shape?

Monday, February 25, 2013 Comment close up of i voted sticker

In late January, Austin Oberbillig and Evan Ricks, students at Olympia High School in Olympia, Washington made a video called “Lunch Scholars.” The video was meant to be a high school version of “Jaywalking,” a sketch Jay Leno has done for twenty years, where he asks people on the street near his Hollywood studio simple questions – who was the first U.S. president? – and compiles the funniest answers into video segments for his show. Austin and Evan did the same thing, shooting four hours of footage and editing it into just under five minutes, featuring