At the training session, teachers received an orientation from iCivics representatives on how to implement the game-based learning program in the classroom. Participants were able to explore the site, create accounts and start their virtual classrooms. The workshop put an emphasis on the train-the-trainer model, encouraging teachers to return to their schools and train other teachers. Teacher guides were also distributed to participants.
“This is a priority of ours,” noted BP Oddo. “We live in an era where we have more access to information than ever before, yet people still don’t understand how our government and country works. We want to reemphasize the teaching of civics, and iCivics is a great tool to do this. It draws students in through games and creates better informed citizens, who will be the true leaders of tomorrow. Focusing on teaching civics in our schools is a great way to get at society’s challenges. The more students learn about civics, the more likely they are to be positive agents of change in the future.”
“iCivics allows us to grow better civic-minded students,” said Christine Zapata of the DOE’s Staten Island Borough Field Support Center. “It allows kids to get deeper into topics they normally wouldn’t have learned about so early in their careers. Why wait until kids are 17 or 18 years old to make them better civic-minded citizens?”
“Students love iCivics,” said Amber Coleman-Mortley, Digital Media Manager for iCivics. “It puts them in the driver’s seat, where they can get firsthand experience in civics. We support the games with a curriculum for teachers to make sure that students understand the concepts fully.”
iCivics is a not-for-profit program founded by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 2009. The program teaches students how government works by having them experience it directly through a series of interactive games. iCivics offers 19 free interactive games that focus on different aspects of civics education. It is used by over 150,000 teachers in all 50 states, reaching over 5 million students every year.