© 2018 by the MacArthur Research Network on Youth and Participatory Politics

Students explore their identities and communities, identify civic issues that matter to them, and consider how they might use digital media for civic participation.

Students work to understand and analyze civic information online, and consider what information they

can trust.

Students navigate diverse perspectives and exchange ideas about civic issues in our inter-connected world .

Students consider how, when and to what end they can create, remix and otherwise re-purpose content that they share with others in online spaces.

Students consider a broad range of tactics and strategies for acting on civic issues. 

VOICE

CONSIDER WHAT, HOW, WHEN, WHY, AND TO WHAT END YOU EXPRESS YOURSELF CIVICALLY ONLINE

Through the activities in this module students will consider what, how, when, why and to what end they can create, remix, repurpose, and share civic content and perspectives with others in online spaces.

 

The rise of digital and social media have brought an explosion of ‘voice’ in the public sphere. The perspectives and ideas of ordinary people - including young people - can be easily accessible to all. Platforms like YouTube serve as tools to publish content online. Similarly, social media platforms like Facebook enable youth to amplify messages on issues they care about and share them with their networks and beyond. But with such great possibilities come great responsibilities as youth have to carefully weigh what they want to share, how and why they want to share it, and the goals they have for putting their perspectives out there. They also need to consider potential risks, including surveillance and possible conflict with people who have different ideas and perspectives. In short, in a digital age, there are positive opportunities but also challenges for youth as they find and express their voice on issues that matter to them.

 

This module includes hands-on activities you can use to engage students in considering what, how, when, why and to what end they can create, remix and otherwise repurpose content to share with others in online spaces.  The module focuses in particular on how such expressive efforts can be harnessed towards social and civic goals. The activities included here will help your students explore the following questions:

  • How do I find my story and express it in ways that are civically meaningful?

  • What do I choose to share publicly and what do I keep to myself?

  • As I express myself, how will my message spread?

  • How do I manage the ‘digital afterlife’ of my voice?

conversation starter:

do we like seeing political

content on our social media?

This conversation starter invites students to analyze a Pew Survey and share their own experiences (20 min) >

QUESTION 1:

How do I find my story and express it in ways that are civically meaningful?

Storytelling is a key aspect of finding your voice and is a practice that bridges cultural and civic/political engagement. We define storytelling as a shared activity in which individuals and communities contribute to the telling, retelling, and remixing of narratives through various media channels. To create these stories, youth make use of various media including theater, photography, blogs, books, and videos.

QUESTION 2:

What do I choose to share publicly

and what do I keep to myself?

The activities below encourage students to explore what to share publicly, what to keep to themselves, and how to decide. Students will reflect on their digital footprint and assess the risks of sharing online, especially when it comes to privacy and security. At the same time, students will consider the ways in which going public enable them to raise awareness and encourage others to get involved around issues that matter to them.

QUESTION 3:

As I express myself, how will

my message spread?

The following activities invite students to think about how to use their voice to spread ideas with the aim of raising awareness about an issue that matters to them, changing the conversation people typically have about this issue, and/or mobilizing people to get involved.

QUESTION 4:

How do I manage the ‘digital afterlife’

of my voice?

Voicing one’s ideas and perspectives online can be empowering but also risky. Telling one’s story or simply expressing one’s stance on an issue on social media can provoke different reactions - including supportive comments, and respectful or hostile pushback. It can also have short or long term consequences, online and offline. Leveraging the potential of online spaces requires considering how to manage the afterlife of what one shares.

CLOSING

REFLECTION

This section asks students to loop back to

the broad questions that they explored in this module

as a way of reviewing what they covered

related to voice in the digital age.

teacher background

This section includes links to articles, blogs, videos, and further resources that informed the creation of this module and may be useful to educators who want to dig deeper.