CivicsLab

Back from a break | March 24, 2010

It has been a funny four days for me.

If you don’t know, I have epilepsy. After months of being just fine, I suddenly had a seizure at a coffee shop on my way to the Fred Forward Innovation Showcase in Pittsburgh where I was looking forward to seeing cool technology and social media being used for the benefit of children. Instead, I awoke to find myself in the hospital…without a cell signal and *only* a newspaper. A newspaper with headlines I had read the night before! I sat there for hours without a cell signal wishing with much of my being that I could access ubertwitter. That feeling reminded me how much information I have at my finger tips all day and night long. Not just any news, either. But news that happened within the past hour, half hour, fifteen minutes, or sometimes 30 seconds. No wonder newspapers are struggling!

Laura

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Focusing on the Southwestern Pennsylvania region, CivicsLab puts elementary and middle school students in virtual control of decision-making in their communities to encourage civic participation, critical thinking, and sense of place. In CivicsLab, players will assume positions of power in the community from an urban, suburban or rural perspective and explore how decisions-based on social need and demand, proper planning (as defined by our civic experts), political pressure, and most importantly, their imaginations-might impact the community. Through manipulation of real mapping information and current data sets, students navigate social and political pressures to explore the cause and effect of civic investment and public policy as they attempt to create a sustainable future for their region.

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