The Future of Civic Engagement

Try It

How will our students become contributing members of our society in a world awash in misinformation and polarization? This video illuminates what’s at stake if citizenship skills are lacking — starting with basic fact-checking skills.

Discuss It

  • In what ways does technology (particularly social media and its underlying algorithms) pose challenges to responsible citizenship? How will these challenges change over time?
  • What is the school’s role in addressing challenges posed by the “misinformation age”?
  • Are your students currently being taught how to fact check? How do you know they’ve developed fact-checking skills? 
  • How informed are your students about current events, and where do they get their information? 
  • Does school promote civic engagement if success is based on out-competing classmates on individualized exams? If success is based on collaborating to create initiatives that contribute to your community? 

Go Deeper

Check out this eye-opening study and these resources developed by Sam Wineburg and his group at Stanford.  They’re doing exceptional work to help educators promote digital literacy — an imperative if we hope to preserve our democracy. Consider ways that students equipped with fact-checking skills can impart these skills to adults in your community.
For a chilling look at how easy it is to get good people to do evil things, read Philip Zimbardo’s The Lucifer Effect. It turns out it’s not that hard, as history has shown us time and again.