Stoddard, Banks, Nemacheck, and Wenska suggested that there is a tension between the goal of the iCivics games and the goals of democratic education. In this response, we suggest that iCivics can be utilized to help meet the goals of democratic education and to encourage our nation’s youth to become active civic participants if used alongside other instructional practices, such as Action Civics. We offer three important reasons for the use of iCivics as a tool for democratic education and engagement. Firstly, we describe the affordances of several other iCivics games not explored in Stoddard’s study as well as other elements of the iCivics program including lesson plans, impact points, and discussion boards. Secondly, we suggest that iCivics games should not be a stand-alone curriculum and describe ways to extend the iCivics games to inspire students to consider issues in their community and engage them in action civics. Thirdly, we describe the need for high quality professional development which is central in using iCivics games as part of a comprehensive civics curriculum. Our response extends the findings of Stoddard et al.’s study by suggesting ways educators can go beyond the games to utilize iCivics as a tool for democratic education.

Response to Article

Jeremy Stoddard, Angela M. Banks, Christine Nemacheck, and Elizabeth Wenska, The Challenges of Gaming for Democratic Education: The Case of iCivics