Widespread Use of Center for Civic Education’s Digital Products

By Diana Owen

Digital resources for primary and secondary school civics teachers have become increasingly essential to promoting positive student outcomes, a point that was driven home as virtual instruction became widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Prior to the pandemic, digital products provided by the Center for Civic Education were in widespread use.  47% of civics, social studies, and American government teachers used at least one product provided by the Center according to a national survey conducted in November-December 2019 by the Research Practicum in Civic Education and Digital Media at Georgetown University.  (See Table 1.)

Digital resources for the Center’s longstanding We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution curricular program were used by 32% of teachers. We the People is grounded in the foundations and institutions of American government, and is distinctive for its emphasis on constitutional principles, the Bill of Rights, and Supreme Court cases, and their relevance to current issues and debates. Students take part in a range of learning activities, such as group projects, debates, and student speeches, culminating in a simulated congressional hearing where students prepare to answer questions from a panel of judges. The program has involved more than 30 million students and 75,000 teachers in the United States in all 50 states and the District of Columbia since 1987.  The digital product available to teachers include the program’s textbook in e-book formats, primary source documents correlated by lesson, a student resource center, an elementary teacher resource center, a resource guide with strategies for struggling readers, and a free open We the People course. 

23% of teachers used other digital resources that are offered by the Center, including a resource page with a range of learning tools on Learn.civiced.org, the 60-Second Civics daily podcast and quiz, and a civics forum.

Table 1

Teachers’ Use of Digital Products Provided by the Center for Civic Education

The Center for Civic Education

Established in 1965, the Center for Civic Education is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to helping students develop an increased understanding of the institutions and principles of constitutional democracy and acquiring the skills necessary to participate as competent and responsible citizens. They offer a range of programs for civic educators, including We the People, Project Citizen, and Civitas.  Information about the Center and its digital civic education products can be found at http://www.civiced.org.

About the Survey

The Digital Tools in the Civics Classroom survey was fielded online by the Research Practicum on Civic Education and Digital Media at Georgetown University from November 18 to December 15, 2019.  A total of 1,435 civics, social studies, and American government teachers responded to the survey. Respondents represent a diverse sample of primary and secondary school educators nationwide.