Pocket Law Firm is the iPad app version of
Do I Have a Right?, a popular video game
on Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s iCivics
website. The developer, Filament Games,
specializes in games that apply “systems
thinking”—the study of how things interconnect. It is fun,
engaging, and truly constructivist because the learning
happens during play.
In the game, players run a law firm, solving problems and
making decisions based on constitutional rights. The more
clients that players serve, the more cases they win and the
faster their law firms grow! Success is measured by the
number of Prestige Points they earn.
Rather than learning disconnected facts, my students learn
constitutional rights through experiential play. Furthermore,
the scoring system encourages students to iterate—try over
and over until they improve—which results in more learning.
This is not the usual “chocolate-covered broccoli” educational game.
App Helps Students Learn Their Rights
Got an app for that? Email a description of your favorite app to senior editor Diana Fingal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a few more apps ISTE members recommend for civics education:
Commit2Act: Commit to take action on important
issues, and connect with others with shared values.
My Politics, USA: Find and share the latest
information from all levels of U.S. government.
Congressional Moments: Explore key historical
legislation that still impacts our lives today.
Open States: Stay on top of what’s happening in your
Final Argument: Create debates or arguments on the
fly from many sources.
The Presidency: Gain access to information about the
44 U.S. presidents.
My Congress: Find detailed information about U.S.
White House: Access news, documents, videos,
and live-streamed events.
Android, iOS; free
Presidents vs. Aliens: Learn presidential facts,
quotes, and history by playing this game.
iOS; 99 cents
Constitution: Read the U.S. Constitution and the
Declaration of Independence on the companion app.
Lincoln Telegrams: Read more than 300 telegrams
written by President Lincoln.
Today’s Document: Explore American history with
365 documents and photos from the National Archives.
Matthew Farber teaches social studies at Valleyview Middle
School in Denville, New Jersey. He is also an adjunct instructor
for the New Jersey City University Educational Technology
Department, where he is pursuing his doctorate in educational
technology leadership. Farber is on the board of directors for
the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies and contributes
regularly to Edutopia.