Lesson video

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Hello, my name is Mr.Miskell and I'll be your citizenship teacher for today's lesson.

Now today's lesson is an exciting one.

It's about really interesting topic about "can political engagement be increased by using digital media?" Now, I'm just going to talk to you a little bit about what we're going to be learning today, but before I do that, it's really, really important that I just make sure that you've got a few things shorter.

Now, firstly, we need to make sure that you've got pen or a pencil and a sheet of paper by your side.

If you don't have those things ready, now is the time to pause our lesson and restart it when you have got those things sorted, it's also probably important to say that our lessons often work best when you are in a quiet space somewhere that you can work without any interruption whatsoever.

So once you're ready to start our lesson, please hit play and we can get going with our learning today.

So now what we're going to be learning together today is part of a wider unit of work about digital democracy.

It's a really interesting area of citizenship and a really new thing to be looking at.

I think that really allows you to amplify, to raise your voice and be heard by decision makers.

Now, one on lesson three, which is, "can political engagement being increased using digital media?" Now let's get going with our lesson today and I'm going to introduce you to how we're going to be going about our learning.

And this is our agenda for what we're going to be doing.

So firstly, I'm going to be taking you in a time machine and giving you a vision for digital engagement in the 2040s.

Once we've done that, we are then going to investigate three different case studies about digital engagement and digital engagement platforms. And the first one's going to be about online petitions.

The second one's going to be about FOIs and that means Freedom of Information Act Request, and case study three is about online consultations.

Now, finally, we going to bring that all together and we're going to be thinking about the reality of digital engagement now.

We're going to be really thinking quite deeply about the strengths and the weaknesses of digital engagement now.

Now let's just recap for a second digital democracy because to consider whether political engagement can be increased by using digital platforms, we need to recap what we mean by digital democracy.

"Digital democracy is the use of digital and online methods to support key functions of democracy.

For example, online information about elections, digital campaigns, citizens consultations by government, citizens participation in parliamentary debates and committees and electronic voting by MPs or the electorates.

Different kinds of digital technologies and online platforms are starting to be creative, making it easier for citizens to engage with and participate in democracy." And this is what makes it's just an exciting and interesting topic for us to be looking at in that eighties, always evolving.

It's always changing and it's something that really allows you to make your voice, but it allows you to amplify your voice in so many different ways.

Now I want to take you on a time machine for a second.

And I want to you to introduce you to a vision for digital engagement in 2040.

"So imagine that you are onboard a time machine ready to journey into the future.

The year is 2040 and the United Kingdom is a very different place.

Technology has advanced significantly with superfast broadband, everywhere and devices interconnected in ways that we would not imagine are possible.

Digital engagement is the default way of interacting with decision makers.

Back in 2021, citizens were starting to use technology to help make their voice heard, but the tools and platforms that are available to them were just starting to be developed.

In this lesson we're going to investigate this growing area that is starting to help amplify the voice of citizens and to make them powerful." Now, when we say amplify, we mean make it greater, make it stronger, give it more volume.

So you can be heard by decision makers.

And that's really, really important in active citizenship where we're really, really trying to think very deeply about how we go about creating change.

And we are getting our voice heard by decision makers.

Now, digital engagement at present.

Well, "we are going to look at three case studies to consider how engagement in the democratic process could be improved using digital platforms, all of these things you could use in your active citizenship projects to help make your voice heard." Now the three that we're going to look at are number one, online petitions.

Number two, we're going to have a little look, a Freedom of Information Act Request, or FOIs.

And we're also going to have a little look at online consultations.

So a number of things here for us to be getting our teeth into.

Now, I'm going to introduce you to a template, a table here that I would like you to either download as the worksheet for this lesson and you can use that download worksheets to fill in the missing gaps for each one of these case studies.

Alternatively, you can pause our video lesson in a second and you can just write this out on a sheet of paper by your sides.

You've got two options.

You can either download the template of this table and use it to write into, alternatively, you can pause our video now and you can just simply write it down copy it down onto a sheet of paper now.

Now if you are copying it down onto a sheet of paper, I will make this much bigger on your screen so that you could pause our lesson now and that you could copy it down if that was the option that you were going to be taking.

So the first case study that I'm going to introduce you to is about e-Petitions, remember we can look at for an overview of it, and we're going to look for a pro and we're also going to be looking for a con by a pro we mean something that's really good, a con we mean something that's really not so great.

And the overview is just explaining what we mean by e-Petitions.

Now at the end of each one of these case studies, I'm just going to feedback about how I would go about answering inside this table as well.

So if you're a little bit stuck, then don't worry because I'm going to go over it and help you in more detail in a second.

So e-Petitions are the first case study that we are going to be looking at.

And you can add this to your table as we go along.

Remember, we're looking for an overview.

We're looking for a pro a good thing about your e-Petitions and we're looking for con a negative thing about e-Petitions as well.

Now when we think about your e-Petitions, I'm going to be introducing you to a form of e-Petitions.

And the form of the petition is going to be on the Parliament UK website.

"But an e-Petitions is a collection of names that supports a certain cause.

Traditionally these have been submitted in paper form, but now online petitions are increasingly becoming available to collect signatures for petitions." And that means that they're often very easy for people to be able to fill in, which is obviously a very good thing if you are trying to get as many people as possible to sign your e-Petitions to make their voice heard and to amplify their voice.

And wasn't going to do now is I'm going to share with you the Parliament.

UK Petitions website.

Now you can find the Parliament.

UK Petitions website by simply typing it into Google and searching it.

And what you'll find when you go to the Parliament.

UK website is this that I've gone screen now.

It tells you, it says that actually at the moment, when I'm doing this lesson, there are 382 petitions that have got the response from the government.

And what that means is that they've got 10,000 signatures back in them.

If it's going to get response from governments and you've got 68 petitions with debated in the House of Commons, which is a really big deal because those people who sit in the House of Commons and MPs, Members of Parliament are big decision-makers.

They make law in our country.

Now in order for it to be debated or to be considered to have a debate in the House of Commons, then a petitions need to have 10,000 signatures on this an online platform.

Now you can see, I can move it up and down here.

I can search for different petitions on different topics.

I'm for example, might want to put, for example, education or schools, but also I might want to put.

I might simply want to open up all of the petitions that are available.

I can see here, the first petition on the Parliament.

UK website is about ending child poverty.

And it says no child should go hungry and actually there are over 1 million signatures on this.

Now, remember just like with any petition or any campaign issue, there are multiple sides here.

Of course, some people take a very different view to the petitioners that have put this petition together, and that is their rights in a democracy.

And here I'm just showing you that there is one issue and it's about child poverty.

And they said "the government should support vulnerable children and they say hashtag end child poverty by implementing three recommendations to the national food strategy." Now you can see down here that it gives a kind of a responsible government because it's obviously got a large numbers of signatures on it already.

So it gets that response from government.

And if you wanted to, you could click sign that petition and it asks you to submit details in order to sign that petition.

Now that's something that you should do with your parents or your guardians approval, really.

And you should probably go through that with your parents or guardian staff.

Now that gives you a little bit of an idea about a Parliament.

UK Petitions.

And it's a really powerful platform really, because actually it allows petitions to be debated in parliament and also is brilliant and because you can go about creating your own petitions on it as part of your active citizenship projects as well.

Now, what I'm going to do is I am going to go back to our presentation now, and I'm going to tell you a little bit more about petitions and about e-Petitions and how they actually work.

So when we're talking about an e-Petitions, then we're really trying to explain and trying to kind use them as a tool to allow people to be able to amplify their voice an lots.

Now, "e-Petitions are petitions that are useful tools as they show campaigns have a wide support.

In democracies decision-makers are more likely to act if wider support is shown.

Petitions are of course easy for people to sign online with some dismissing them as examples of collectivism, collectivism means that someone may have signed a petition online and then should limited efforts or commitment to the cause.

e-Petitions are a way of people participating in the political protest sorry process, but they can be easily ignored by decision makers and then are many different online petition platforms, including one hosted by the UK Parliament that I've shown you.

This is a powerful tool because 10,000 signatures gets response from government and petitions over hundred thousand signatures be considered for debate in parliament.

And examples of petitions includes the one with almost 2 million signatures that were signed to prevent Donald Trump, making a state, which is an official visit to the UK, during his presidency." Now, what I'm going to do is we're going make this much bigger now because I'm going to ask that you use the information on screen now to add to your table, to think about an overview, what do we mean by e-Petitions? And also, can you identify at least one positive of e-Petitions? One pro.

And can you identify one negative, one con of e-Petitions as well? Now in a short while I'm going to give a little bit of feedback and help you out with that table if you are struggling but now is the time to pause our lesson and have a go of filling in your table.

Go little bit back.

Now, thank you very much for having a really good go on that activity.

I'm going to give you a little bit of feedback about it.

Now, if I was filling in this table, I would say in terms of my overview section, I'd say that e-Petitions for a collection of names, they supports certain cause because in a democracy petitions are useful tools as they can prove your campaign issue has widespread support.

Issues with more support, unlikely to gain more backing by decision-makers, however, a pro of it that means a positive might be the petitions are a way of getting more people to participate in the political process.

An e-Petitions allow diverse citizens, who might not be able to participate in the process in other ways to have their say, perhaps they have a physical impairment that might make it very difficult for them to be able to go out and sign a petition and the town centre, that type of thing.

A con might be that they can be easily ignored by decision-makers or the easy for people to sign online with some dismissing them as many of examples of collectivism that they've just signed it because it's easy and actually they don't really care even about the topic in general.

Now we'll make this much bigger on your screen so that you can pause our video lessons now, if you do want to add to your table and make your table and your answers even stronger as well.

So what I'm going to do now is I'm going to introduce you to case study two, which about FOIs.

Now you may well be asking yourself what are FOIs? I'm going to run you through that now.

Now "FOIs are the freedom of Information Act.

It is a law which allows the public to request access to information held by public authorities.

Public authorities include government departments, councils, the NHS state schools and for example, the police force or police forces as well." Now remember this informational screen now may help you in terms of filling out that overview section on your actual a table as well.

So this might actually help you fill that table out there.

But what I'm going to do is I'm going to try and make this a little bit clearer for you by introducing you to an example of use of Freedom Information Act requests.

So this is Lucie and her use of Freedom of Information.

Now, "Asbestos is a dangerous substance that was often used in buildings until the 1980s, Lucie Stephens is campaigning for Asbestos to be removed from all school buildings after her mother, the teacher died from mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to the substance.

She wanted to know how big the problem was as part of her campaign have active citizenship because Lucie sends 200 FOI requests to local councils to find this information out, this help Lucie prove that the issue was a huge problem in older school buildings across the country.

Lucie believes that teachers and students have a right to know if their school building contained Asbestos and having this information out to build a better case for change." It fundamentally allowed her to amplify her voice and really get people talking about this important issue about the safety of school buildings and Asbestos Now if I go into this in more detail, and remember, you can use this for the overview section of your table, as well as the pros, the positives and the cons.

Well, of course "anyone can submit a request for access to information, to a public body using email or online request process." "Access to information can improve public trust and confidence in a democracy." "Most FOI requests are granted, but a small number of reasons can be given for them to be rejected." "FOI request can be costly for public authorities to administer.

Request costs citizens nothing directly, but staff time to process them is paid for by the taxpayer and can be considerable." "Platforms, digital platforms like WhatDoTheyKnow, allow people to see past FOI requests and help them to make new requests, which can sometimes be complicated to put together." And that website, WhatDoTheyKnow is something that I'm now going to give you a little bit of an overview for, because actually it's a really useful digital platform to be able to submit your Freedom of Information Act Request as part of your active citizenship.

Now, what you should see on your screen now is a websites, and this is WhatDoTheyKnow.

You can get access to this by just typing into Google or a search engine WhatDoTheyKnow without any spaces and it will come up with this website here.

You can see that it says, "get answers from the government and public sector." And by public sector it means public authorities.

Those words in terms that we use can be used interchangeably.

It says, "make a request for information through UK Public Authority, by law they have to respond, which is very, very true.

You can browse here it says, 710,000 requests and you can use that information from those requests and you can make requests to what is it? 38,000, over 38,000 authorities as well.

Now you can see here that it allows you to make a request so you could click make a request and you could type in any public authority, a school, a police force, a local council or government department.

What I'm going to do now is I'm just going to type in department for education because they are responsible for the policy around schools, which is relevant to all of us.

So I will click search.

And of course the top one is the right one, the part of education that I'm looking for.

Now, I could make my own Freedom of Information Requests, but before I did that it probably a good idea to me, to have a little look back over past Freedom of Information Act requests.

Some of them are quite complex, some are less.

So and for example, if I look at this one here, this one says List MAT's and their employee count.

Now that seems like a quite difficult one for me to kind work out.

But what do we mean by that? And you can see at the very top, it says List MAT's and their employee counts.

Now a MAT's is a multi academy trust an employees are people who work for it.

Like teachers, teaching assistants, receptionists, back office staff, all those sorts of people.

So if you were doing a campaign and your campaign involved trying to find this information out so that you could perhaps do something about it, you might want to increase the number of school staff, or perhaps you may even want to decrease them for some reason, then you could submit your question or you could look back over the Freedom of Information Act Requests to strengthen your own campaign.

Now what do they know is an absolutely wonderful digital platform for helping you navigate how to submit your own Freedom of Information Act Requests.

Now for those people are at home, it is a really good idea to do this alongside a parent or caregiver as well, just to tell them what you're doing and just to make them aware of the fact that you're using, WhatDoTheyKnow as well is a great digital platform to help amplify your voice and help you to be able to make your voice heard even more so as well.

Now I'm going to take you back to our presentation our lesson, and the reason I'm going to do that is I want you to pause for a second and in a short while, and you're going to be pausing in order to fill out your table.

And then your table, remember that you were trying to use the information about case study two, about Freedom of Information Act Request.

In order to think really deeply about this.

So I'm going to ask for testing Freedom of Information at the question as you complete FOIs part of your table using the information that you have learned.

You should add in an overview of what they are, the pros that means the positives.

Why are they useful to promote political engagement and the cons.

Well, what does that mean by the negative? So that's, what's the negatives as well? So that was the time to pause our lesson now and to press resume once you are ready as well.

So well done there for having an amazing go at filling out your table.

And one students fill this table and for me in my lessons, they often say, well, as an overview, Freedom of Information Act request, will they access about access to information and it can improve public trust and confidence in democracy, which is a good thing.

Digital platforms like WhatDoTheyKnow allow people to see past FOI requests and help them to make new requests.

A pro if it a good thing might be that most FOI requests have accepted that and they can help campaigners like Lucie to find information that helps with their campaigns.

However, a con might be FOI request can cost the taxpayer a lot of money and to be able to process as well.

So you've got an overview there.

You've got a pro and you've got a con.

Now you can use this feedback table to help strengthen your own answers in your own table if you were struggling with part one part of it as well.

Now the last thing that we are going to look out together is about online consultations.

This is case study three, as part of your table about online consultations.

Now, what do we mean by an online consultation? Well, "an online consultation is a way of asking for the views of citizens before decisions are taken.

Government and other public bodies often run these electronically." They run these online.

Now the case study that we're going to have a little look at here is about online consultations.

Not often run by government departments and public authorities.

"They allow people to have their say before decisions are made, which is an important part of the democratic process." "People often use a website to submit their views, which is accessible for lots of people, but those without good IT skills, IT skills may struggle to take part.

We call this digital exclusion." "Campaign groups can encourage their supporters to submit their views to online consultations and some people say that online consultations can be easily ignored." Now I'm going to make this much bigger on your screen so that you can pause this now and that you can add this to your table.

Remember that we're looking for the positives.

We're looking at the pros, we're also looking at the cons.

We're also looking for an overview of online consultations, but to help you understand what we really mean by online consultations, I'm just going to introduce you to a really great example of online consultations in practise.

And this is a very recent one, a 47,000 students responded to a government consultations on replacing exams for summer 2021.

"The disruption to education caused by COVID-19 has meant the changes needed to be made the way that exams runs in England.

The Department for Education, the DFE and Ofqual as the exams regulator wanted to get the views of schools, students, and teachers before making any changes.

Campaigners encouraged students to have their say and 47,000 young people filled out the survey and made their views clear.

The decision was taken to scrap exams and replace them with teacher assessments." So many of those 47,000 young people who filled out the survey did get their voice heard.

And actually they did scrap exams and replaced them with teacher assessment due to the COVID-19 crisis.

And what I'm going to ask that you do now is I'm going to ask that you pause on our video lesson and I'd like you to complete the online consultation part of your table, using the information that we have learned.

You should an overview of online consultation, the pros, that means the positives and the cons, the negative.

And remember to resume your lesson by pressing play at once you were finished as well.

Good luck.

Now, well done for having a really good go at that task.

And I'm just going to give you a little bit of feedback because this is what students often tell me when I do this activity in my lesson, they often tell me well an overview of online consultations.

Well, "online consultations are often run by with departments and public authorities to ask citizens for their views prior to decisions being made.

An example of this is the consultation by the DFE and Ofqual on the summer 2021 exams." A pro of that.

So a positive is the "online consultations allowed people to have their say before decisions are made, which is a really important part of the democratic process." But a con is, "those without good ICT skills, might access might find access really difficult and they might struggle to take part and they come be digitally excluded as result." "Some people say that online consultations can be easily ignored by decision-makers." Which again is a another con as well.

And I'm going to make this much bigger on your screen so that you can pause our video lesson now, and you can add to your own table to make it even stronger as well.

Now thank you very much for completing your table I'm really bringing together those three different case studies about Freedom of Information Act Requests about online e-Petitions and also about online consultation.

So in your view, I'd like you to do this task, which is task four in your view, which of these methods will be the most useful and effective way to improve political engagement? Would it be online consultations? Would it be FOI requests? Would it be e-Petitions? And I'd like you to write a short paragraph and suggest reasons for your answers.

Now I could start a sentence here that you could use will be in my view, the most effective digital methods to improve political engagement is, and what would that be? And here's where you kind of see online consultations, FOI requests, e-Petitions or perhaps something that we've not mentioned today that you may want to add then.

And because why is that? Why have you chosen that particular answer as well? So good luck with this task, that task four where you're giving your view.

Now thank you very much for having me go with that task.

Now, the reality of digital engagement is much more complex, isn't it? And I want you to really think very deeply about some of the strengths and some of the weaknesses of using digital platforms to increase political engagement.

Because of course, we do have many digital platforms to increase digital engagement and political engagement, but the reality is that some of this work is often in its infancy and it's not a hugely developed maybe in few many years time, it may be much more developed as well.

So what I'd like to do is just talk to you about some of the strengths and some of the weaknesses.

Now, some of the strength will be that well, "it appeals to younger voters who are statistically less likely to vote than older voters and it's therefore important to find ways to engage them in the political process." "And digital platforms may be more inclusive for people with perhaps physical disabilities or caring responsibilities who might find it easier to take part digitally." "Digital lessons of political engagement and often more efficient and cheaper e.

g signing an e-Petitions or hosting an online consultation is a quick and easy way to kind a participate and it's also free." "And most people are digitally connected and therefore information about digital methods for political engagement can be passed on quickly and easily and that will reach in wider target audience, for example, via social media." Now they are some of the strengths of using this form of digital engagement to enhance political engagement.

But of course there are also some weaknesses and I'm going to run you through some of those weaknesses because "digital methods of political engagement could exclude older voters or the people who do not have access to the internet or digital devices, such as people living on low incomes, we call this digital exclusion." "Digital methods can be ignored by decision-makers as results and data and data is stored electronically and not physically making it less obvious to the general public and to the media." And of course, "being able to meet in person and engage with the political process is important parts of democratic engagement, e.

g public meetings, or rallies allow people to express themselves, connecting with other citizens and help those in power, help those to hold those in power to account.

And that's really difficult to do digitally." Now, just a decode word that we've used that a rally is a gathering of people COVID rules and permitting where people come together and make that voice heard.

So they are some of the weaknesses about using digital methods of political engagement to make your voice heard.

Now, thank you very much for taking part in those activities.

Now there's a bit of an active citizenship take-away task here, and I'd like you to consider writing to the APPG on Media Literacy now an APPG is the All Party Parliamentary Group on Media Literacy to explain your views on digital participation by the methods that we've looked at in this lesson.

"An APPG is a group of MPs who from all parties and both Houses who joined together to pursue an area of interest, they want to hear your views and it's useful to know what you think.

You can find the details of the APPG on the UK Parliament website by simply going to Google or another search engine and finding that and searching APPG on Political Literacy.

Now, things to consider when you're writing to them might be, well, "what digital methods of promoting political engagement do you think would work with young people?" "And should MPs should Members of Parliament be doing more to promote political engagement through digital platforms as well?" Now in this it's really important to remember to keep your notes that you make is really important of course to keep being critical and asking questions about things that you do and the work that we do.

And it's also really important to investigate things further, because it's all about here, the love of learning and the love of taking part in an active citizenship project here.

Now, thank you very much for participating in our lesson today.

Now you can share your work with Oak National, and if you'd like to then please ask your parents or carer to share your work on Instagram, on Facebook or Twitter by typing Oak National and using the #learnwithOak as well.

There's been wonderful being your citizenship teacher as part of today's lesson.

So thank you very much, and I hope that you have a great day.

Thank you very much and bye-bye.