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Can technologies be used for democratic education ?. Dzul Amirulhaq : Indonesia Coen Gelinck : The Netherlands Christine Minetto : France Kathryn Moyle: Australia. Jefferson.

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Can technologies be used for democratic education

Can technologies be used for democratic education?

DzulAmirulhaq: IndonesiaCoen Gelinck: The NetherlandsChristine Minetto: FranceKathryn Moyle: Australia


No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness… Preach a crusade against ignorance; establish and improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against the evils[of misgovernment].

Thomas Jefferson to George Whythe - 1786


John Dewey was perhaps America's most famous philosopher. He devoted his life trying to reform the public schools and reconstruct American democracy to increase citizen political participation.

What is a democratic citizen
What is a democratic citizen?

No consensus:

  • freedom vs equality

  • civil society vs free markets

  • volunteer vs voting, protesting, political campaigns

What is democratic education
What is Democratic Education?

A common terminology?

Definitions are in the following general areas:

  • Democratic processes, school governance, civic education, citizenship;

  • Freedom to choose, learning without compulsion; and,

  • Self-actualization, global aspects, human rights

Some issues
Some issues

School-based programs which ignore politics (eg community service, character education) don’t promote democracy but can hinder democracy

What are technologies?

Something invented after you were born…to those born after invention, it simply is life.

Early pioneer of personal

computers and graphic user interfaces

Pace of Change

25 billion app downloads from the apple store

Facebook started (Feb)

First iPad Released (Apr)

2004 2010 2012

13,000 iPhone apps downloaded

168 million emails sent

Every 60 Seconds

20.6 million TB of data created

6,600+ new photos uploaded to Flickr

295,000 Facebook status updates made

694,445 searched conducted on Google

Technology savvy
Technology savvy

Critical life skills required for students to survive and flourish in the digital age:

  • Technology skills

  • Communication skills

  • Computation skills

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills

  • Information management skills

  • Interpersonal skills

  • Personal skills

  • Community skills

Proven practices
Proven PracticeS

1 classroom instruction
1. Classroom instruction

2 incorporate discussion of local national and international events in the classroom
2. Incorporate discussion of local, national and international events in the classroom

Use controversial social and political issues

3 community service political responses to problems
3. Community service: political responses to problems

Provide positive experiences in civic participation

4 offer extracurricular activities to get involved
4. Offer extracurricular activities to get involved

Trust student populations to develop their own instruments in solving problems

5 student participation in school governance
5. Student participation in school governance

To vote ‘Yes’ text

  • +1 530 566 3255

  • Team leader

To vote ‘No’ text

  • +1 530 566 3256

  • Deputy team leader

Should students be allowed to use their cell phone in class?

6 simulations of democratic processes
6. Simulations of Democratic Processes


Technologies can be used for fostering democratic education by

  • Influencing school policies and politics

  • Getting different views into the classroom

  • Using democratic processes

  • Building pluralism

  • Understanding the importance of being involved in the political processes of the country, state and local community levels.


  • Be clear about the objectives

  • Be critical

  • Use technologies thoughtfully

  • Teachers have to trust the students

  • Students have to be clear about the expectations of them

  • Remember technologies can also be used for other goals

Follow on activity
Follow-on activity

  • Prepare a paper about approaches to implementing democratic education with technologies that:

  • Builds on the literature review; and

  • Draws on our respective countries’ experiences.





  • Promoting this approach to the state Department of Education

  • School-ProDemos partnership - to organise a mock elections in schools with technologies

  • In school use of technologies to build citizenship

  • Role of school leaders in promoting democratic education

Key references
Key references

Kahne, J. & Westheimer, J. (2003). Teaching Democracy: What Schools Need to Do. Phi Delta Kappan; Sept 2003, Vol. 85 Issue 1, p34-66

Gould, J. (ed) (2011). Guardian of Democracy: The Civic Mission of Schools, he Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools.

Final: readings are available on Edmodo

Outstanding participatory democracies have leaders everywhere who understand that the fragile bird of freedom relies on people, stepping forward and stepping up to help define what that freedom means and I want to encourage each of you in your sphere of influence to take what you’ve heard and to become champions for change, seeking ways in which we can adopt technology to further enhance democracy worldwide.

Jenny Shipley (2011)

Prime Minister of New Zealand (1997-1999)

and Vice-President of the Club de Madrid