Online Resources and Programs for Civic Education
As we shelter in place due to the coronavirus, there are many great options for students and educators of all ages to continue learning about civics. Many providers listed in the Roundtable’s briefing on High-Impact Civic Education offer high-quality online resources, with several others launching new offerings or tailoring existing materials for digital use.
If you come across additional resources, please alert The Philanthropy Roundtable’s Katherine Haley (khaley@PhilanthropyRoundtable.org).
Online Classes and Videos
The Ashbrook Center has curated its Teaching American History resources to identify the ones best suited to online teaching. For six weeks beginning on March 25th, Ashbrook is also hosting the “Insights from History” live webinar series focused on topics relevant to today’s crisis.
The National Constitution Center is offering free live daily classes for students of all ages on the Constitution available through Zoom and accessible on any home computer, laptop, or phone. Classes begin on March 24th and run for eight weeks. The Center also offers many additional resources focused on the Constitution and where scholars agree and disagree on how to interpret it.
Hillsdale College Online launched a new 25-lecture course entitled The Great American Story: A Land of Hope which “explores the history of America as a land of hope founded on high principles. In presenting the great triumphs and achievements of our nation’s past, as well as the shortcomings and failures, it offers a broad and unbiased study of the kind essential to the cultivation of intelligent patriotism.” Hillsdale offers many additional courses aimed at adult learners.
The Jack Miller Center lists scholars willing to virtually guest lecture and has curated high-quality video presentations and other online resources. Other government and civics courses are available through Khan Academy and on the EdX platform (most notable are Princeton professor Robert George’s courses on Constitutional Interpretation and Civil Liberties).
Annenberg Classroom’s resources include videos of Supreme Court justices teaching about the Constitution. Additional high-quality videos are online at Prager University. Don’t miss the PBS-quality three-video series with Judge Douglas Ginsburg, A More or Less Perfect Union, produced by the Free to Choose Network.
Lesson Plans, Textbooks, and Historical Documents
The Harlan Institute offers lesson plans on Supreme Court cases. It also has just offered free access to the 11-hour video library created for the new book, An Introduction to Constitutional Law: 100 Supreme Court Cases Everyone Should Know. Students can sign up at: CasebookConnect.com/Free (instructions here).
The Bill of Rights Institute provides lesson plans based on primary sources as well as a “comprehensive digital course on History, Government & Economics” called Documents of Freedom. BRI’s “Teaching with Current Events” relates constitutional principles to current laws and ordinances.
National History Day teaching resources include a variety of materials on American history. The Center for Civic Education also has a variety of lesson plans on America’s Founders and is currently offering their We the People e-book free until July 31st.
FIRE’s K-12 Free Speech Curriculum includes a new lesson on coronavirus and the 1st Amendment.
For a wealth of historic documents, visit Founders Online at the National Archives and the wealth of resources at the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, which now offers free access to remote learning resources.
Museums and Historical Sites
While many sites and museums are closed to in-person visits, there are a wide variety of virtual options to learn from historic spaces. Mount Vernon has created lesson plans help guide students to use a 20-question worksheet for analyzing historic places including Mount Vernon in Virginia and Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Similarly, students and parents can enjoy the Monticello digital classroom, American Battlefield Trust’s Civil War Curriculum, Colonial Williamsburg’s resource library, and the Museum of the American Revolution’s virtual content. Make sure to watch the extremely well produced collection of five videos that provide a tour of Washington, D.C., the We the People Constitution Tour, produced by NBC and the U.S. Capitol Historical Society.
Games and Podcasts
Relevant podcasts include the Originalism Podcast hosted by the Georgetown Center for the Constitution, the Civics 101 Podcast, and the 60 Second Civics Podcast.
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s lists of home-learning resources including and beyond civics, including top educational YouTube channels such as Liberty’s Kids and top podcasts for kids including History Chicks.