Skip to main content
The Challenges of Gaming for Democratic Education: The Case of iCivics
Democracy & Education (2016)
  • Jeremy Stoddard, College of William and Mary
  • Angela M. Banks
  • Christine Nemacheck
  • Elizabeth Wenska
Video games are the most recent technological advancement to be viewed as an educational panacea
and a force for democracy. However, this medium has particular affordances and constraints as a tool
for democratic education in educational environments. This paper presents results from a study of the
design and content of four iCivics games and their potential to meet the goals of democratic educa-
tion. Specifically, we focus on the games as designed experiences, the nature and accuracy of the con-
tent, and the nature of intellectual engagement in the games. We find that the games, while easily
accessible and aligned with standardized curriculum, do not provide opportunities to engage players
in deliberative decision making on contemporary issues or to apply concepts from the game world to
their role as citizens in training. Further, the game content is more “textbook” than the potentially
dynamic and authentic types of civic engagement the medium of games can provide.
Publication Date
Citation Information
Jeremy Stoddard, Angela M. Banks, Christine Nemacheck and Elizabeth Wenska. "The Challenges of Gaming for Democratic Education: The Case of iCivics" Democracy & Education Vol. 23 Iss. 2 (2016)
Available at: