Teaching democratic values and the importance of civic responsibility doesn’t seem to be particularly strong in the school system. However, given that so many schools cling to an outdated education model, I don’t find fault with many kids for ending up apathetic. It’s hard to imagine getting excited about learning the importance of civic responsibility and democracy from simply reading a text book.

This is why I’m sending kudos to the province of Ontario’s educational television network for thinking outside of the box and programming a new show called Pillars of Freedom, in an effort to not only entertain, but to educate and engage kids. Additional kudos as you don’t have to be from Ontario to enjoy the program – everything is online.

The show’s creators were inspired (by means of being uninspired by low voter turnouts) to create a multi-platform, interactive show that teaches kids at an early age about democracy and the consequences of choices. Kids aged 6-10 watch the show which portrays two young dragons who are trying to restore freedom to their kingdom, which is suffering from apathy. Viewers are driven online to a “choose your own adventure” series of choices.  Within the show’s online community, kids can vote on what they would like to see the animated characters do next, watch previous episodes and play out the roles of the two protagonists via the show’s online game. It is a great example of the kind of programming that a generation which is growing up online is looking for. It’s fun, interactive, educational and puts viewers in the driver’s seat to do what they do best – choose.

I encourage other programmers to start thinking how we can inspire our youngest citizens to want to understand the importance of civic values.

Don Tapscott