Children’s Civic Engagement via the Scratch Online Platform

This entry was contributed by on January 5th, 2016 at 9:00 am and is filed under , , .
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Our blog addressed Engaging Youth with Deliberative Problem-Solving  where students from Colorado State University reached high school students to build their interest and skills in deliberation and democracy. In April 2015, these high school students participated in the nationwide mental health conversation which took place through a virtual interface only.

Now, I’m glad to see an examination of children’s civic engagement (ages 8-16) on the Scratch online platform.


Scratch is a creative community where children from around the world learn programming by designing and sharing interactive media projects. The researchers examined how young people related to issues of global importance, as well as with local topics and questions of community governance.  They offer a typology of the strategies the young people use to express themselves, engage with their peers, and call for action.

Courtesy of the public involvement firm Bang the Table  (based in Australia), some key points are:

  • Suggested guidelines for designers and educators that encourage youth to connect to topics with personal meaning
  • How to enable children to become familiar with tools and practices
  • Facilitation as crucial to support youth participation
  • Community ownership as a pathway to genuine civic action.
  • Recommendations to help members engage in traditional civic practices, and to bridge the gap between the models of dutiful citizenship and actualizing citizenship.

The research is reported in ‘Children’s Civic Engagement in the Scratch Online Community’, published in Social Sciences, by Ricarose Roque, Sayamindu Dasgupta, and Sasha Costanza-Chock.

What do you think?

Here is their full blog post.

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