ERIC Identifier: ED415176
Publication Date: 1997-12-00
Author: Pinhey, Laura A.
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science Education Bloomington IN.

Internet Resources for Civic Educators. ERIC Digest.

The Internet, with its unique capabilities for instantaneous global communication, is rapidly becoming a valuable resource for civic educators, both those involved in K-12 citizenship education and those involved in international civic education for democracy. For K-12 teachers, the Internet is a source of classroom tools and resources such as curriculum guides and lesson plans; the full text of the United States Constitution and other pertinent documents as well as those of other nations; and numerous examples of grassroots civic participation in progress in the United States and other established, authentic constitutional democracies, and in fledgling democracies such as those of Eastern Europe.

On the international level, numerous government, non-government, academic, private, and grassroots cooperative projects on civic education for democracy are uniting people from all over the world; the Internet enhances and furthers these projects' goals by fostering long-distance communication among project participants and expanding opportunities and resources for topics and activities ranging from comparative study and curriculum planning to grantseeking and networking with other civic educators. The full text of government documents, conference proceedings, seminar and workshop schedules, listservs, websites of grassroots civic organizations, national election results, requests for proposals, on-line databases and library catalogs, photographs, and video and audio files are just a few of the resources available on the Internet for research, networking, or curriculum development by civic educators.

The following list is an annotated guide to some of the many websites useful to civic educators.

Note: The author has selected these sites because of their potential utility for civic educators; however, she neither endorses all the content of the Internet resources on this list or the beliefs of the organizations sponsoring them, nor does she guarantee the stability of the sites or the accuracy of the information provided on them.


The website of AskERIC, an Internet-based question-and-answer service for teachers, librarians, counselors, administrators, parents, and others throughout the world, features a lesson plan collection which includes the full text of over 50 K-12 lesson plans on civics and government.

* Center for Civic Education (CCE)

This website offers information on CCE and its many civic education programs such as "We the People ...," its publications, articles and papers on civic education, research and evaluation, curricular materials, civics frameworks and standards, and sample lesson plans from CCE books.

* Civic Practices Network (CPN)

CPN describes itself as "a collaborative and nonpartisan project bringing together a diverse array of organizations and perspectives within the new citizenship movement." The CPN website features case studies, essays, manuals, syllabi, and information about techniques and training in civic participation for public problem solving.

* civnet

The mainstay of this site, published by CIVITAS, an international, non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting civic education, is a monthly journal of articles about the current state of democracy and civic education, reviews, and reports, all written by civic educators. A civic education resource library features on- and off-site links to historical documents, lesson plans, syllabi, bibliographies, research, journals, newsletters, and other materials. Also featured is a directory of civic education organizations around the world, a calendar of civic education events, and news about CIVITAS activities.

* Close Up Foundation

The Close Up Foundation aims to teach "responsible participation in the democratic process through civic education programs and publications on government and citizenship." Their website offers information about Close Up's educational books, videos, games, and simulations; its travel programs and service learning programs for K-12 students and older Americans; the K-12 "Close Up Connections" program; and "Close Up on C-SPAN," a weekly public affairs/news program broadcast on C-SPAN.

* Constitution Society

Explores rights, powers, and duties; abuses and usurpations; jurisdiction and due process; and electoral process. Also provides information and additional links on citizen action; organizations; events; commentary; resources; United States founding documents; the concept of unity and federalism; constitutional defense; legal and political reform; public education; publications; people; references; and images.

* Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF)

The website of this community-based organization dedicated to educating young people for civic participation features an index and catalog to its publications, which include K-12 curriculum on civic participation, service learning, government, law-related education, and mock trials and simulations. Includes information about CRF teacher workshops and other programs.

* C-SPAN Online

Not just up-to-the-minute news on activities in Congress, but information on and materials for using C-SPAN in the classroom.

* DemocracyNet

The website of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) offers the Democracy Grants Database, the catalog of NED's Democracy Resource Center, information about JOURNAL OF DEMOCRACY and other NED publications, and instructions for subscribing to the electronic newsletter "DemocracyNews."

* Elections Around the World

* Parliaments Around the World

Both websites are databases containing basic political data and links to election and parliament information worldwide. Monthly "Info on Elections Around the World" newsletter available via e-mail.

* Electronic Model Congress

This simulation, under development since 1994, teaches students "about citizenship in a democratic society and about participation in the legislative processes" in order to develop civics literacy, political involvement, and leadership and telecomputing skills. The website describes the project and how schools can participate.

* Government Information Exchange

The one-stop comprehensive site for U.S.A. federal government information includes a Federal Directory, the Federal Yellow Pages, and the Federal Information Center, as well as information on federal employees and foreign/international, state, and local governments.

* International Constitutional Law

Features the full text of constitutional documents and country information in English for nearly 200 nations. Also links to constitutional courts, information about non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the Model Constitutional Code (MCC).

* THOMAS: Legislative Information on the Internet

"In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson," this site is a service of the U.S. Congress through its library. The site includes: 105th Congress (House and Senate Members), Congress This Week (House and Senate Floor Activities), Bills, Laws, CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, House and Senate Committee Information, Historical Documents, The Legislative Process, and U.S. Government Internet Resources.


The following list of resources includes references used to prepare this Digest. The items followed by an ED number are available in microfiche and/or paper copies from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS). For information about prices, contact EDRS, 7420 Fullerton Road, Suite 110, Springfield, Virginia 22153-2852; telephone numbers are (703) 440-1400 and (800) 443-3742. Entries followed by an EJ number, annotated monthly in CURRENT INDEX TO JOURNALS IN EDUCATION (CIJE), are not available through EDRS. However, they can be located in the journal section of most larger libraries by using the information provided or requested through Interlibrary Loan.

Brandsberg, Jennifer. "Webbing It." UPDATE ON LAW-RELATED EDUCATION 20 (Fall 1996): 14. EJ 531 621.

Corrado, Anthony. "Elections in Cyberspace." UPDATE ON LAW-RELATED EDUCATION 20 (Fall 1996): 10-13. EJ 531 620.

Lindroth, Linda K. "Focus on the Presidency." TEACHING PRE K-8 27 (October 1996): 66-69. EJ 531 274.

Martorella, Peter H., ed. INTERACTIVE TECHNOLOGIES AND THE SOCIAL STUDIES. EMERGING ISSUES AND APPLICATIONS. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1997. ED 406 302.

Risinger, C. Frederick. "Citizenship Education on the World Wide Web." SOCIAL EDUCATION 61 (April-May 1997): 223-224. EJ 549 852. ASSIGNED.

Schwartz, Edward. NETACTIVISM: HOW CITIZENS USE THE INTERNET. Sebastapol, CA: Songline Studios, Inc., 1996. ED 403 207.

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