Our Courts is an interactive web-based program designed to teach and engage middle-school students in civics. In Our Courts, students can participate in realistic simulations that enable them to use real law to investigate and argue actual cases, as well as view cases from multiple perspectives (judge, a legislator, and an executive).
The vision of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Our Courts grows out of her concern that young people are not gaining the tools necessary to become knowledgeable and active participants in civic life. Justice O'Connor has recruited experts in education, law, history, and technology to craft immersive learning experiences that teach usable civics. The Arizona State University and Georgetown University law schools are leading the development effort, with CCT lending its instructional design expertise to the project.
Recognizing that young people today spend roughly 40 hours per week using digital media on their own time, Our Courts is designed to support student learning in both in-school and out-of-school settings. Our Courts is developing a series of problem-oriented, discovery-based curricula that address issues that impact kids' lives. The program's activities can be used as a complete civics curriculum or as a supplement to an existing curriculum. Our Courts also is building an immersive simulation that allows students to engage in the legal process from investigation to argument to judgment. The program will eventually be embedded in a 3D virtual world that will be built using core principles from the serious games and learning movement. This component is intended for use in educational venues as well as by individuals on their home computers.
The Web-based environment will be available, free of charge, to students and teachers nationwide for use in classes, enrichment programs, or extracurricular activities. To learn more about the project, visit the website: ourcourts.org