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Using Digital Media to Engage Young Citizens. ~ Lance Bennett Center for Communication and Civic Engagement University of Washington, Seattle, USA ~ Prepared for OECD - INDIRE New Millennial Learners Conference Florence March 5-7, 2007. Civic Engagement -Learning .

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Using digital media to engage young citizens l.jpg

Using Digital Media to Engage Young Citizens

~

Lance Bennett

Center for Communication and Civic Engagement

University of Washington, Seattle, USA

~

Prepared for OECD - INDIRE

New Millennial Learners Conference

Florence March 5-7, 2007


Civic engagement learning l.jpg
Civic Engagement -Learning

  • Cognitive skills: -- political reasoning - develop/express public voice

  • Social value-lifestyle: NML effective personal expression - identity

  • Learning outcomes: knowledge about government - how to participate

  • Educational achievements: informed citizens who participate in public life


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What are the challenges?

  • What schools do best -- (teaching textbook knowledge about government) is the least effective/ motivating for NMLs

  • What appeals to NML personal identity and digital lifestyles is hard to introduce into schools

  • Solution

  • A) understand the generational changes in citizen identities among NMLs (1980--)

  • B) understand how to use technologies to motivate a change from private to public life



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Electoral Activity Low Participation

DotNets born 1977-1987

Source: PEW U.S. Civic Health Survey




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Generational ParticipationCitizen IdentityDifferences

Youth: Actualizing Citizen (AC) Older: Dutiful Citizen (DC)


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Research and Education Policy: Competing Views of Citizenship

  • Two paradigms or schools of thought

    • Disengaged youth? -- yes, if focus is on voting, knowledge about politics & government

      • (emphasizes DC citizen identity)

    • Engaged youth? -- yes, if focus on community work, consumer politics -- online communities

      • (emphasizes AC citizen identity)

  • Result -- conflicting & poorly developed approaches to civic engagement & education



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The Policy Challenge offering little for ACs

  • Civic Engagement Programs that

    • Appeal to AC citizens -- active/personal contact with real problems and issues

    • Support DC values, but …

      • avoid textbook government

      • avoid presenting citizenship as duty

      • Offer personal paths to government

      • Using familiar social networking media


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~ offering little for ACs Use Interactive Technologies to Bring Democracy into the Classroom~

  • Use interactive technologies to help young citizens:

    • Communicate with each other

    • Build a political agenda

    • Organize and act effectively

    • Communicate with government

    • Learn public communication skills


Create communication environments l.jpg
Create Communication Environments offering little for ACs

  • In public space -- outside of schools

  • Link both schools and personal life to those spaces via networking IT

  • Build curriculum to help students discover community issues

  • Teach digital media literacy in schools - to develop PUBLIC VOICE

  • Make it fun -- produce & share content


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But How to Motivate Gen Next? offering little for ACs

  • I. Recognize citizen identity shifts

    • less collective responsibility/civic duty

    • strong interest in making a difference in society

  • II. Use new learning & comm. preferences

    • make learning: interactive, experiential, group

    • use digital media to personalize information

    • use online tools to link political info & action

  • III. Link classroom to government & society

    • Use media to engage students in public spheres


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Center for Communication & Civic Engagement offering little for ACs

Lance Bennett, Director

www.engagedcitizen.org

Information ~ Technology ~ Community

@


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