Matt Easterday, PhD-Northwestern University Photo
Segal Seminar Series

Matt Easterday, PhD-Northwestern University

October 4, 2011, 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
1.350 (ITW Classroom)
2133 Sheridan Rd. Evanston , IL 60208

Designing Educational Technology to Teach Engaged Citizens: Video Games and the New Civics


A functioning democracy requires citizens to analyze policy, persuade others, and organize for action, however, we know little about how to educate students for engaged citizenship. Furthermore, the ill-structured nature of policy problems, the psychological challenges of confirmation bias, and conflicting design principles of educational technology all present serious barriers toward the development of a new civics.

This talk will focus on the design of Policy World, an educational game for teaching policy argument. First, I will describe a cognitive framework for policy argument. Next, I will discuss a series of studies that identify the errors and biases that students exhibit during policy argumentation. These findings have led to the development of an intelligent tutor embedded in a game-like environment for teaching citizens how to construct causal diagrams to improve policy argument. Additional work evaluating Policy World has produced new principles for designing more effective educational games.

The talk will conclude with a brief description of strategies for incorporating this technology into classrooms of policy and citizen journalism.

Contact Elizabeth Gerber at 847-467-0607 or for further questions.