Re-writing Civics to 4.0: connecting students to institutions in the digital age

As the third activity of the project, Re-wiring Civics to 4.0 allows both students and educators to explore existing civic-tech tools to connect with political institutions in the digital age.

The project team have developed a set of activities that innovates education for active citizenship in the digital age, as a way to support the engagement of students with a diverse background in the civic and political life of their communities.

Civics 4.0 Central Questions:

Digital transformation comes with great opportunities for a number of societal processes and this also relates to citizen participation. However, these transformative developments raise some questions, namely:

  • What tools, apart from ‘e-voting’, can we put in place to encourage youth participation and to enhance democratic vitality?
  • Should young people, who were born in the digital age, be encouraged to use online platforms and tools for the purposes of active and responsible citizenship?

Three steps to Re-Write Civics to 4.0:

Civics 4.0 approach:

NEXUS focuses on liquid democracy, participatory budgeting, e-government platforms, and the use of crowdsourcing in law-making, linking those practices with students. The project innovates the approach to education for democratic citizenship by engaging students in a cycle of research, action, and reflection about problems they care about. This has been carried out in three steps:

The Inventory of digital tools for civic education maps resources that are useful for diverse student populations. Our research team defined a framework for navigating the field of digital tools for civic engagement. The framework helps to sort such tools by type (e.g. app/platform/game), scope (e.g. local/national/global level) and aim (e.g. decision making, accountability, relationship-building, awareness raising). Further investigations assess how such tools are used by different actors and the lesson learnt from those applications. The respective results are presented in the inventory and put to use for educators and students interested in civic engagement.

  • TEACHER TRAINING

“Teacher Training on Civic education for the digital age” (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 2022) familiarised young educators with digital democracy tools and equip them with resources and means to engage their students as active citizens in decision making and policy making.

To sustain the approach beyond the Teacher Training, we have created ‘The handbook for educators: Civics 4.0 Civic Education for the  Digital Age’. The Handbook provides educators with instructions on how to utilise the resources from the inventory and exploit digital democracy tools together with their students.

NEXUS approach puts students at the heart of civics learning by providing them with the opportunity to experience civic and political action with digital tools. NEXUS aims at innovating the approach to education for democratic citizenship by engaging students in a cycle of research, action, and reflection about problems they care about.

As an outcome of these activities, educators will be enabled to put students at the heart of civic education by providing them with the opportunity to connect with decision-makers and influence policy-making through digital tools.