What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that iCivics is a safe, educational site designed to help kids learn (and teachers teach) about civics topics, including democracy, constitutional law, the branches of government, elections, and campaigns. Using engaging, interactive games and innovative educational materials, the site aims to prepare American kids to become knowledgeable, engaged citizens of the 21st century. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor founded iCivics in 2009 to reverse the nation's declining civic knowledge and participation and to foster an understanding and respect for the U.S.'s system of governance. Kids, parents, and teachers alike will find a wealth of useful and entertaining materials at their fingertips.
What kids can learn
- power structures
Responsibility & Ethics
- following codes of conduct
- honoring the community
- respect for others
Engagement, Approach, Support
The blog gives feedback and a sense of community, but the site is mostly static.
Games don't dumb down learning even though they're cute for middle and high schoolers. In fact, they clarify complex concepts.
Each game has a detailed tutorial, and help screens in each support struggling players. Some games require a lot of reading, with no language translation available. Teacher materials connect the experience offline.
What's it about?
iCIVICS is essentially an engaging educational site cleverly disguised as a gaming spot, with innovative games, cute animated characters (Liberty Belle and Chuck Freepress), and a real-world reward component. The more games you play and the more "Impact points" you earn, the more impact kids can have on an actual community service project. Games focus on core civics concepts such as rights, the court system, governance, freedom of speech, and constitutional law. Each game is creatively executed and educates while it entertains. Instructions and information are clearly presented and easy for tweens and teens to comprehend. Kids can drop in to play or become members and create a safe account that enables them to save in-game progress, unlock special features, and compete with other members. Educators have access to free, standards-aligned civics curriculum and comprehensive teaching materials.
Is it any good?
Who says studying civics can't be fun? At iCivics, learning about government, citizenship, civil rights, politics, public policy, and The Constitution is exciting, entertaining, and engaging. Through interactive games ("Cast Your Vote," Immigration Nation," "Responsibility Launcher"), kids can get a grasp of often-complicated concepts and improve their understanding of civics curriculum. Educators of all levels can turn to these online tools to supplement their in-class teaching and turn kids on to some of the more staid civics lessons through gameplay. The language and look used throughout iCivics is geared to the computer-savvy student and it offers a fresh, fun-filled way to learn through play.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the importance of understanding democracy and how our nation's government works.
Talk about the importance of making smart decisions about technology even when it's being used to help with schoolwork and learning.