How I Use It
I used ICivics with my students in several ways. As I was teaching at an international school, I didn't use the lessons on the US government but I used the Crisis of Nations game with my class to help them understand the complex issues involved in world conflicts and the Do I Have a Right game at a different time of the year to give them a better legal understanding of human rights. The kids who loved the games continued to play independently at home. My students are ESL so they played in small groups, helping each other along the way.
The Drafting Board tool was also very useful for helping students learn how to express their opinions clearly and back them up with evidence. All the activities can be completed by students independently, in small groups or even in larger groups with a facilitator.
When I taught in the United States I could have really used these resources for the 8th Grade US History unit we taught to help students understand the more complex issues involved in civics education ie. economic issues, etc.
The DB Quests look exciting and I am looking forward to seeing more units put up on the site as they combine primary and secondary source analysis.
As a teaching tool, iCivics is extremely useful. It can help teachers in so many ways, from providing whole class lessons to individual enrichment opportunities. The range of topics, issues and activities is comprehensive so there is really something for everyone on the site.
I would say that for ESL students and for younger students, the teacher should go through everything carefully at least once on her/his own to ensure to help scaffold the learning.
In addition, as an extension activity, I think that students and teachers can use the frameworks from the sign to create their own game outlines, DB quests and units for their own (non-US) countries.
This site has tremendous potential as a teaching and learning tool.