Symposium: Civic Education in New Media
Youth and Democracy

Symposium: Civic Education in New Media

What opportunities and challenges do new media offer for civic education? And how does civic education need to be designed to survive online? These questions were the subject of the Civic Education in New Media symposium with the focus area “Young People and Democracy” held on December 3, 2013.

Around 140 participants – experts and executives from companies and public institutions, professionals, YouTube personalities, and bloggers – came to the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Berlin offices and discussed whether smartphones, computers, YouTube, and Facebook can effectively be used for civic education. In his keynote speech, Professor Peter Vorderer explained that digital media definitely has a fixed place in young people’s lives – they are permanently online and permanently connected. Mass communication and interpersonal communication are blending together and the focus on entertainment is increasing. Vorderer believes that civic education has potential in interactive formats such as apps or when used in fiction.

Professor Anja Besand showed how Web 2.0 can be used to better tailor civic education to the target group. Based on her evaluation of the YOU HAVE THE POWER project, she reflected on the somewhat unreasonable expectations people have of civic education activities in new media – "sugarcoating traditional formats" is not the way to reach the target group, but rather the key is to change the content being offered. The results of the evaluation and the experiences from the project were combined in a case study. You can find these together with the other talks by our experts in the Web coverage of the symposium – right here on this page.

During the rounds of workshops in the afternoon, the participants used the opportunity to learn from experts and examples of best practice, to report on experiences from their working environments, and to network with others in attendance. The focus was on topics such as "Games and Gamification," "Videos with Educational Intent," "Participation in Web 2.0," and "Will Social Media Revolutionize Civic Education?" In the end, the three YouTube personalities dailyknoedel, Marie Meimberg, and Thilo Jung concluded that it is most important to "be authentic and do it yourself." They all have their own online channels and often also post political content.

We are very happy about the positive feedback our symposium has received. If you would like more information about our work, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Visual documentation


Keynote by Professor Anja Besand (German):

Picture Gallery


Program of the symposium: