is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
Nonprofit organization is neither a legal nor technical definition but generally refers to an organization that uses surplus revenues to achieve its goals, rather than distributing them as profit or dividends...
that promotes civics
Civics is the study of rights and duties of citizenship. In other words, it is the study of government with attention to the role of citizens ― as opposed to external factors ― in the operation and oversight of government....
education and encourages students to become active citizens. iCivics was founded by retired Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...
Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Sandra Day O'Connor is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O'Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981...
. O'Connor started the web-based education project because she was concerned that students' failing grades on civics examinations were due to inadequate information and tools required for civic participation, and that civics teachers needed better materials and support.
iCivics is a web-based education project that offers an array of free interactive games and activities for students.
After leaving the bench in 2006, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor grew concerned with the frequency and character of verbal attacks directed at the courts. O'Connor reasoned these attacks stemmed from a "fundamental misunderstanding of the role of the judicial branch of government." To educate students, Justice O'Connor suggests tapping into the 40 hours a week teenagers spend online by promoting videogames to teach the fundamentals of civics and active engagement Since the launch in 2009, iCivics' games have been played over 2 million times.
In March 2009, iCivics, inc. grew out of the Our Courts project, a joint venture of Georgetown University Law School and Arizona State University
Arizona State University is a public research university located in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area of the State of Arizona...
. In August 2009, Our Courts added Supreme Decision
and Do I Have A Right?
to the website. Our Courts became iCivics in May 2010. A more comprehensive website was launched, supplementing the gaming modules with classroom lessons on the branches of government. iCivics creates free lesson plans, videogames, and interactive activities for middle and high school students and educators.
iCivics incorporates interactive activities like opinion polls and web quests, and tries to "empower students with knowledge of their government."
The website has different access points for teachers and students.
Above The Law
Above the Law may refer to:*legibus solutus, doctrine of Roman Law*Above the Law , a law blog*Righting Wrongs, a 1986 Hong Kong film titled "Above the Law" for international release...
sponsored a Do I Have A Right?
challenge in 2010.
There are 16 civics games available online. Filament Games
Filament Games is a Madison, Wisconsin based educational video game developer founded in 2005 by partners Daniel White, Daniel Norton, and Alexander Stone. The company is most well known for their series of civics games launched by Sandra Day O'Connor for iCivics, her civics-education initiative...
is the primary developer of the educational games.
In March 2009, Justice O'Connor went on The Daily Show
The Daily Show , is an American late night satirical television program airing each Monday through Thursday on Comedy Central. The half-hour long show premiered on July 21, 1996, and was hosted by Craig Kilborn until December 1998...
with Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart is an American political satirist, writer, television host, actor, media critic and stand-up comedian...
and promoted civics through Our Courts. Justice O'Connor was the keynote speaker at Games for Change
Games for Change is a movement and community of practice dedicated to using digital games for social change. An individual game may also be referred to as a "game for change" if it is produced by this community or shares its ideals...
in 2010, and iCivics was featured at the Games for Change conference in New York in 2011.The Washington Post Editorial Board highlighted the shortcomings of civics, and the efforts of iCivics. Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...
featured Justice O'Connor and the iCivics initiative on Independence Day, 2011.
Do I Have a Right?
In Do I Have A Right?, the player controls firm of lawyers who specialize in constitutional law. The player must decide whether potential clients have a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and if so, match them with the right lawyer. The more clients served, the faster the law firm grows.
Argument Wars is a simulation of a courtroom argument. Players test their persuasive abilities by arguing real Supreme Court cases, and must convince a judge that the law is on their side.
In Supreme Decision, the player is a Supreme Court law clerk to a fictional Justice who grabs you on her way to an oral argument in a case involving a student's right to wear a banned band t-shirt. The Court is split 4-4. The game divides the First Amendment case into four issues that are explained through the other eight Justices' conversations. The player puts together the legal analysis needed to decide the case.