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Phil Duncan
The Center on Congress at Indiana University

Last modified: Thursday, February 2, 2012

Center on Congress ventures into teaching via tablet computers with Civic Quotes application

Feb. 2, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Civic Quotes, a new resource from the Center on Congress at Indiana University that uses notable quotations and images to teach about American government and citizenship in an engaging, interactive way, is now available as a free app for the iPad tablet computer and on the Web.

"It's vital to make civics instruction interesting and relevant," Center on Congress Director Lee Hamilton said in introducing Civic Quotes. "This app, which puts the latest technology into the hands of social studies teachers and students, will help spur young people to think about what it means to be an informed, effective citizen."

Lee Hamilton

Lee Hamilton

Upon its debut, Civic Quotes earned mention in the "New and Noteworthy" section of the Apple iTunes store. Though developed primarily for the classroom, the app also is of interest to the general public. To access Civic Quotes on an iPad or the Web, go to

Civic Quotes takes the user through 64 primary-source images and related notable quotations from a variety of U.S. political leaders. Four topics are highlighted: representative democracy; the role and impact of government; the democratic process and compromise; and citizen participation.

Teachers can use Civic Quotes in the classroom to supplement their civics, government or American history curricula. The quotes and images can serve as discussion starters, encouraging students to learn more about the person being quoted and the history of the event and point of view being portrayed.

Also appearing with each quote and image is a quiz question taken from the 2006 and 2010 national civics assessments of the National Assessment for Educational Progress. Users of the app can see how they do on each question compared to the eighth- and 12th-graders who took the National Assessment for Educational Progress test.

Civic Quotes is searchable in various ways, and coming soon on the Web version will be lesson plans and more resources for teachers.

Civic Quotes is a product of the center's Teaching with Primary Sources program, funded by a grant from the Library of Congress. The visual images accompanying the quotes include many that are drawn from the archive of historical images at the Library of Congress. Content featured in partnership with the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program does not indicate an endorsement by the library of all or any additional content provided by the partner organization.

About the center

The Center on Congress is a nonpartisan, educational institution established in 1999 to help improve the public's knowledge of Congress and to encourage civic engagement. The center developed out of Lee Hamilton's recognition during his 34 years in the U.S. House that Americans should be more familiar with Congress' strengths and weaknesses, its role in our system of government, and its impact on the lives of ordinary people every day.

The center offers an extensive array of civic education programs, projects and resources to foster an informed electorate that understands our system of government and participates in civic life. These include: Web-based, interactive modules and other online learning tools in English and Spanish; print publications; commentaries for newspapers; video and television in the classroom resources; survey research; teacher awards; and seminars, conferences and a lecture series.

The Center on Congress is supported in part by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at IU Bloomington. For more information about the center, visit