Civics in the Digital Age

Educating students to engage effectively and responsibly using
digital technology.

The digital transformation of politics and society has substantial implications for civic education. People must acquire the necessary competencies for negotiating the 21st century communication landscape to engage meaningfully in their communities, government, and political life. Digital technologies are tools that facilitate learning and expression. They provide mechanisms for accessing, processing, creating, and conveying content. Citizens routinely employ digital affordances to participate actively in civic life.

The role of preparing students to be digital citizens increasingly is shouldered by civic educators. Yet integrating digital technology in the classroom remains challenging for teachers and school administrators. Restricted resources, lack of professional development opportunities, limited instructional time for civics, and uncertain outcomes can hinder instructors from integrating digital media into their classes. The increasing prevalence of AI and the rise of natural language processing tools like ChatGPT have heightened the challenges. Teachers face the additional difficulty of ensuring that students remain engaged with the lesson rather than becoming distracted by the technology. CERL conducts research focusing on the role of education in the process of conveying digital civic competencies to students at the primary school, secondary school, and university levels. The studies address the instructional approaches that are used to convey digital civic competencies to students, the challenges of keeping current amidst an ever-shifting digital landscape, and the issues that educators face when teaching digital civics in a polarized political climate.

CERL Research