It’s rare that I get truly excited about something new in the educational realm. My cynicism generally prevents me running around like one of the 12 apostles spreading the good educational news, but after my experience last week I’m ready to start preaching to the multitudes about iCivics.
Last week I had the pleasure to have dinner with various educational leaders in Texas to honor Justice O’Connor and hear her speak about iCivics. Between Justice O’Connor and her Texas coordinator Wendy May, it was clear the passion that they have for civics education. According to Justice O’Connor, iCivics will help teachers address the lack of civics education going on in the country. While I can’t possibly be as eloquent as the “unemployed cowgirl” as she refers to herself, needless to say she believes this is vital to the health of the nation.
I also had a chance to meet with early users of the site as well as the game developer. There are a few things about this site that makes me as excited as I am. First the graphics are top notch and will easily keep the attention of students. Second the simulations are complex and offer students many opportunities to make decisions and alter the ending outcome. Third the points students rack up playing the games can then be donated to charity causes that iCivics promotes. The charities are student created-iCivics vetted and whatever cause has the most points at the end of the quarter gets $1,000 donated. Not only are kids learning civics but they’re also involved in service causes.
The simulations cover branches of government, individual rights, immigrations, court decisions, etc. The site also provides lesson plans and materials using the simulations for teachers. I encourage everyone to go play- it’s fun for adults too.www.iCivics.com