An Enquiry into the use of Technology and Student Voice in Citizenship Education in the K-12 Classroom

An Enquiry into the use of Technology and Student Voice in Citizenship Education in the K-12 Classroom

Venus Olla
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4502-8.ch053
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This chapter describes a case study conducted in a high school setting. A students as researchers’ approach is used to explore the use of technology in the citizenship education classroom. The case study demonstrates how starting student learning from the perspectives of the multicultural backgrounds of the students and using technology can greatly enhance the learning experiences of the students within the citizenship education classroom.
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Citizenship education as a subject area is difficult to define. The reason for this is its inextricable link with the ideology and definitions of ‘citizenship’ in its most general sense. There are two areas of debate in which the tension within citizenship education lie: the political, and the educational (Cammaerts & Van Audenhove, 2005). The political debate stems from the question of the meaning of citizenship, is it national identity and so depends on your birthplace or can it be ‘bestowed’ on a person after obtaining immigrant status? Davies (1999) suggests that this link between citizenship and nationality may have been formed since the 18th century. Heater (1997) expands this premise further by proposing that by the 1800s the terms, citizenship and nationality, had become interchangeable. However, this link has become a contentious one in an era of increased global migration, resulting in the cultural and ethnic tapestries formed in many countries today. Therefore, some are calling for the ideology of cosmopolitan citizenship to ensure that no student within a classroom feels alienated or excluded (Osler & Starkey, 2003; Fullwinder, 2001). The second area of debate is characterised by the argument that involves the purpose of education, with debate amongst educational theorists regarding the appropriateness of such a topic as a school subject (Hébert & Sears, 2001). Citizenship Education, as a contested issue, can even be witnessed by the array of terminologies that have been associated with the subject area, such as Education for Democratic Citizenship (EDC) (Nussbaum, 2002; Osler & Starkey, 2006), cosmopolitan citizenship (Fullwinder, 2001), citizenship education (Osler & Starkey, 2001; Kerr, 1999), and civics education (Torney-Purta, et al., 2005).

A greater understanding of citizenship education and its many manifestations can be gained by discussing the rationale for its introduction into many western countries’ school curricula, in particular the US, the United Kingdom, and Canada. Over the last twenty years (Osler & Starkey, 2006), many developed democratic nations have experienced a reduction in voting in elections. Many countries, fuelled in part by media anecdotes, believe that there is a moral deficit and lack of civic and political engagement in young people. These ‘observations,’ coupled with issues of religion and state in many parts of the world, have created a perceived fear of the demise of democracy (Hébert & Sears, 2001; Bennett, 2008; Osler & Starkey, 2003). In order to counteract these trends Citizenship Education was introduced as a specific school subject through which young people could be taught how to be ‘good citizens’ (Hébert & Sears, 2001).

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