The Educating for Democracy in the Digital Age (EDDA) initiative believes that our civic, political, and digital lives are inextricably linked in the 21st century, and that young people have the most to gain and lose in this new civic and political landscape. To be effective civic actors today’s young people need both the civic skills that come from best practices in civic education and digital literacies that enable them to fully leverage those civic skills. It is not a given that all young people will have access to these experiences.
EDDA believes all students should have access to civic action and digital literacy learning opportunities and that the most efficient and equitable way to reach all students is to provide these opportunities in the classroom. EDDA, a partnership between Mills College, the National Writing Project, and Oakland Unified School District, funded by the S. D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, is in it’s third year of making this goal a reality in OUSD high schools.
By providing civic learning opportunities through the standard curriculum that include academic skill development, exposure to models of civic engagement, and opportunities for youth to work on issues that are relevant to them we can reach all OUSD students and support the development of empowered civic and political actors.
By strengthening pathways for students to develop digital media literacies around online research and digital production that enable them to successfully research, analyze, and act on civic issues EDDA provides OUSD students with an increasingly essential civic competency.
EDDA Initiative Goals – We are working to accomplish the following goals:
- Identify areas of the core curriculum from 9th – 12th grade where civic learning opportunities will expand and enhance students’ knowledge, skills, and capacities
- Develop comprehensive plans at each high school that articulate the civic learning opportunities that will be provided to youth in a sequenced way culminating in a civic capstone project in senior year
- Create models of high quality civic capstone projects that teachers co-create, pilot, and refine for spread throughout the district.
- Build a common understanding of what it means to prepare students to be community ready through the district graduate profile
The EDDA initiative is working with more than 60 teachers from 12 high schools in Oakland to develop curricular models in the humanities that provide students with opportunities to investigate civic issues, learn civic skills, and engage in civic action.