iCivics Baylor Model Moves from Waco to Washington with Fellowship Program

  • Baylor iCivics 1
    Drs. Karon LeCompte (left) and Brooke Blevins (right) play an iCivics game after the Symposium on iCivics on April 30, 2012. Photo courtesy of Robert Rogers, Baylor Photography.
  • Baylor iCivics 2
    Dr. Karon LeCompte gives a presentation during the Symposium on iCivics. Photo courtesy of Robert Rogers, Baylor Photography
June 20, 2012

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Contact: Tonya B. Lewis, (254) 710-4656

WACO, Texas (June 20, 2012) -Baylor University has created the iCivics Summer Fellowship program sending a professor and two students to Washington, D.C. this week to work with the iCivics national team.

The iCivics fellows, Dr. Karon LeCompte, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the Baylor School of Education, Baylor Law student Alaina Smith and recent Baylor graduate Amy Stone, will work for eight weeks at the iCivics headquarters to create additional iCivics lesson plans and curricula, write legal content for games and support outreach to state leaders.

LeCompte along with her colleague, Dr. Brooke Blevins, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction, conducted a nine-month long study on the effectiveness of iCivics, a free online website founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor that teaches civics concepts using 16 educational games. LeCompte and Blevins introduced iCivics to 250 students who completed journal entries and took pre- and post-tests on their iCivics experience as part of the research study.

Additionally, LeCompte, Smith and Stone will continue to develop the iCivics Baylor Model, which is the collaborative effort between the Baylor School of Education, Baylor Law School and Waco and Midway Independent School Districts to use iCivics to teach civics education to primary, middle school and high school students.

For LeCompte, the fellowships present an opportunity to further develop the national research agenda on iCivics.

"The fellowship program provides an opportunity to study not only the way that children can learn through a video game format," LeCompte said, "but it offers a chance to study a civics curriculum that engages children and allows them to follow their own interests and develop problem solving abilities that are key to participatory citizenship."

Wendy May, iCivics Texas Coordinator, sees the fellowships as way to replicate the success of Baylor's efforts using iCivics.

"I first approached Baylor about partnering with iCivics due to Baylor's and President Ken Starr's longstanding support for civic education. The goal was to increase exposure by having a university support and promote iCivics in its geographic area of influence using its student resources. Baylor accomplished this beyond our expectations," May said.

"The fellowships, in addition to providing much needed volunteer help to the small national iCivics staff, will provide an opportunity to plan the national roll-out of Baylor's model to other universities. We have already had a number of universities show interest in repeating what Baylor has helped iCivics accomplish in Central Texas," May added.

To play the iCivics online games, visit www.icivics.org.

ABOUT BAYLOR

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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