Dr. Brooke Blevins and Dr. Karon LeCompte, both assistant professors in the School of Education, were recently awarded a grant from the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation in support of their research on the effectiveness of a civics learning tool.
Their research is based on iCivics, an online program developed by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor that uses interactive games to teach civics concepts and encourage students to become engaged in the political process. Baylor has been involved in research on the iCivics program through a partnership between the School of Education, the Law School, and the Waco and Midway Independent School Districts.
The iCivics curriculum is currently used in all 4th, 8th, and 11th grade classes in the Waco and Midway ISDs. Teachers in these classes use age-appropriate iCivics modules as a launching point for service learning, giving students an opportunity to learn about community issues by becoming directly involved in identifying the causes and solutions of problems.
The Sumners grant will provide funding for a summer professional development program for Waco-area civics teachers where they will receive training on the iCivics program, then implement the curriculum with area students who participate in the iCivics Summer Camp.
The research to be conducted by Baylor faculty, assisted by 10 undergraduate students, is part of a broader research agenda which seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of iCivics curriculum by putting the teaching methods into practice in actual classroom environments.