Democracy Bootcamp Alberta

March 23rd, 2017 by CIVIX

A group of 35 educators from across Alberta will gather in Edmonton on March 23 and 24 for Democracy Bootcamp Alberta 2017.

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Democracy Bootcamp is a professional development conference for elementary and secondary teachers to improve their democratic engagement, strengthen their capacity and commitment to civic education and enhance their delivery of the Student Vote program.

This is our third professional development conference in the province to date. Previous city-wide events took place in September 2015 in Calgary and Edmonton.

The schedule for the two-day conference is filled with engaging and thoughtful speakers, presentations and group discussion. On opening night, teachers will hear from a panel on ‘the state of our democracy today’ featuring Paula Simons (Edmonton Journal) and Tom Flanagan (University of Calgary), moderated by Nicole Weisberg (CTV Edmonton).

Friday’s agenda provides an opportunity to consult with teachers on ways to improve the Student Vote program in the future and enhance participation. Our goal is to build a plan for the next two years to achieve 75 per cent school participation in the next provincial election (up from 64 per cent in 2015).

In the afternoon, a panel of political insiders and journalists will discuss recent and upcoming provincial political developments in Alberta. The session is moderated by Graham Thomson (Edmonton Journal) and includes Danielle Smith (News Talk 770) and Dave Cournoyer (daveberta.ca).

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Democracy Bootcamp Alberta is made possible with the generous support of Elections Alberta.

Democracy Bootcamp has previously been proven to enhance the reach and quality of the Student Vote program, and we hope that it will contribute to our best Student Vote program in upcoming elections.

Based on analysis of Student Vote participation statistics from the 2015 federal election, it was found that Democracy Bootcamp resulted in committed and enthusiastic teachers who were more likely to register for Student Vote, complete the program entirely (submit results) and engage 50 per cent more students than non-attendees.

Furthermore, an independent evaluation commissioned by Elections Canada also found that the Democracy Bootcamps had a relatively consistent and positive impact on student voting intentions, and a significant impact on political knowledge among elementary students, as well as political discussion among elementary and secondary students. Overall, Bootcamp attendees spent more time teaching about the election, specifically tracking media coverage, engaging with local candidates, analyzing political ads and encouraging students to talk about the election at home.

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