Voting period for this idea type has passed

Democracy Games: Civics for the Digital Age?

Peter Sagal of NPR’s "Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me!" and host of a new PBS series, Constitution USA, moderates a panel on reinvigorating the dreaded civics lesson through gaming. More Americans can name the Three Stooges than the three branches of government. Fewer than half can name a single Supreme Court justice. Clearly, there’s a gap in civics education. But how to breathe life into a subject that most members of the digital generation find dry and abstract? Sagal will talk to panelists Gene Koo of iCivics, and to game developer Dan Norton of Filament about how games can be used to convey civics in action, requiring players to engage in complex decisions around government and showing the effects of different choices. How does a game developer turn the three branches of government or the Bill of Rights into a game that kids will actually want to play and learn from? Can values and ethics be part of game design? And does any of this lead to more participation in democracy?

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. How is the Constitution relevant to our lives?
  2. Are video games a good way to teach about how our government works?
  3. Are video games a good way to teach at all?
  4. Why should we care about whether young people learn to become better citizens?
  5. How can we better help young people learn to be better citizens?



Carrie L. Johnson, Sr. Director, Communications, PBS

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.

Show me another