IU center awarded Library of Congress grant for educational app development

  • Oct. 7, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Center on Representative Government at Indiana University has been awarded $315,000 by the Library of Congress to create game-based learning activities for students to explore representative government and the challenges it faces.

The IU center is one of three organizations selected to receive funding during the next two years to support the development of engaging Web- and mobile-based applications on the subjects of Congress and civic participation, for use in K-12 classrooms.

“Indiana University and the Center on Representative Government are honored and pleased to receive this significant grant from the Library of Congress,” said Mike Sample, director of the center and IU vice president for government relations. “We share the Library’s strong commitment to improving citizen understanding of our government through the use of primary documents. We are deeply grateful for its support and for the confidence in Indiana University that this grant represents.”

The Center on Representative Government is the former Center on Congress, which was founded in 1999 and directed by former U.S. Rep. Lee Hamilton, distinguished scholar and professor of practice at the IU School of Global and International Studies and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The Center on Representative Government is dedicated to improving knowledge and raising awareness of representative government at local, state and national levels and in U.S. and international contexts.

The Library of Congress received 33 proposals for the grants from a wide range of public, private, not-for profit and for-profit organizations. The grants were awarded to teams with a record of success in the development and implementation of curricular programs on Congress and civic participation, and the development and long-term maintenance of successful online interactives or mobile apps.

The Center on Representative Government’s "Engaging Congress" project will create a series of game-based learning activities for secondary-level students to explore the basic tenets of representative government and its challenges in contemporary society. Working in collaboration with the Center for Civic Education and WisdomTools, the center will use primary sources and other items in the Library of Congress digital collection, including text documents, photos, posters, political cartoons, audio and video to draw student attention to issues regarding the effective functioning of Congress and the identification of solutions to common problems facing Congress.

Also selected to receive the grants were Muzzy Lane Software of Newburyport, Mass., and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. The selectees will work with the Library’s Teaching With Primary Sources program to develop the applications, incorporating the Library’s online primary sources and other resources.

“We are excited to work with all three of the organizations selected to develop the online interactives and mobile apps,” said Lee Ann Potter, director of educational outreach for the Library of Congress. “The proposals they submitted reflected both creativity and enthusiasm for providing students with engaging tools to learn about Congress and civic participation.”

For nearly a decade, the Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources program has provided extensive professional development opportunities for educators and enabled the development and dissemination of teaching materials focused on using the Library’s digitized primary sources. In its fiscal 2015 appropriation, Congress allocated additional funds to the program to increase competitive opportunities for developing online interactives and apps for classroom use on Congress and civic participation.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s first federal cultural institution, is the world’s pre-eminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Many of the Library’s resources and treasures may also be accessed through the Library of Congress website and its specialized educational resource site.

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