Digital Citizens

Recognizing the importance of social networks and online communities as a new realm of civic action, this curriculum will culminate in empowering students to use an online platform to express their personal values and identities through a project for social good. Taking from Bennett’s (2008) paradigm of “engaged youth,” young people are empowered by “recognizing personal expression and their capacity to project identities in collective spaces” (p. 3). Although conventional political activism and civic engagement appear to be of decreasing interest to many youth, the production of creative media content for personal expression is at an all time high. The benefits in opening up an online space for youth to express their public voices are therefore numerous. First, by involving students in their adolescence in planning for a campaign about an issue of personal value, they are in effect, being invited into meaningful social networks with which they are likely to participate further in the future. Students’ individual identities thus become collective identities as social change agents (Anyon, 2009, p. 391). This project also offers an opportunity for the cultural production of a heterogeneous democracy through the personal expression of multiple civic interests online. This serves to diversify cultural norms thereby dispelling an affinity to the mass culture perpetuated by corporations (Levine, 2008, p. 126).

The range of project ideas is left wide open to reflect the diverse identities of the learners and allows for a greater inclusion of content across subject matter. Topics of interest may vary from LGBTI rights, teen pregnancy awareness to global citizenship campaigns for a developing country of interest. Projects that ensue will inevitably reflect this range - from creating blogs or social media networks about an important cause to crowdsourcing fundraisers. The choices are confined only to the limits of students’ creativity.

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