Rethinking Civic Engagement with Tech Innovation

Earns

+400 Points

Coming Soon: March 4 - April 5, 2024!

Get ready for some political fireworks with the presidential election just around the corner! This Challenge is all about how technology can be used to light up the world of civic engagement. Election season can be a polarizing time, for example: left vs right; Democrats vs Republicans; young voters vs older voters. But, does it need to be? How can technology be used to foster healthy dialogue and engage in political action? Get those creative juices flowing, as you brainstorm out-of-the-box ideas for products, businesses, and marketing campaigns that use emerging technologies to transform youth civic engagement. Pitch your idea to Lenovo with a 3-5 minute video and win big $$$!

In this Challenge, you’ll address the question:

How can we leverage emerging technologies to help more young people get involved in civic life (e.g. vote, run for office, etc)?

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Skills you'll develop

  • Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Social Awareness

Explore the Issue

Congratulations on taking the first step to solve this Challenge -- becoming an expert on the topic! Pick and choose from all of the resources in this section to learn about the topic. Watch the video to learn more about this phase.

⏱️Time: 2- 4 Hours (Week 1 of the Challenge)

✏️Use the optional KNOtebook to record notes and questions

💼Mentor: Ask a mentor questions about the topic

🎯Future-Ready Skills: Social Awareness, Initiative and Self-Direction

Build Background Knowledge

It’s an election year and the more you understand what it means to be an engaged citizen, the more empowered you are to decide how you’d like to get involved and make an impact.

You Can Make a Difference

Do you think you can make a difference? Does your voice matter? YES and YES!...Do you have to be 18 to have an impact on politics? NO! Are you planning to vote once you turn 18? Hopefully, you’ll answer ”YES”! Get ready to learn how you can help influence decisions at a local and national level, create the change you want to see, and elect officials who have your concerns at the forefront.

Gen Z Civic Engagement

 “We (Gen Z and Millenials) make up 37% of the country and if we all came out to vote, we could change the entire country together,” says NAACP Director of Youth and College Division, Tiffany Dena Loftin. She continues in an interview with Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, “There are people who boycott; there are people who buy; there are people who speak out; there are people who take to the street; there are people who vote; and there are people who run for office. And we need all those different tactics.” Listen to the interview.

Voting in America: Your Right and Responsibility

Voting is an important part of American democracy. It allows citizens to choose their leaders and have a say in the decisions that affect their lives. Learn how you can become a voter.

Who Can Vote: To be eligible to vote, you must

How to Vote: Follow this step-by-step guide to vote

Voting Rights

Voting is a fundamental right and a crucial aspect of our democratic society. By exercising your right to vote, you can make your voice heard and contribute to shaping the future of our country. Did you know that:

  • Groups such as women and racial minorities fought for their right to vote. The right to vote is protected by the 15th, 19th, 24th, and 26th Amendments to the Constitution.

  • Voter turnout in the U.S. varies from election to election. In the 2020 presidential election, approximately 66.8% of eligible voters cast their ballots. (census.gov)

  • Certain states allow early voting or mail-in voting, providing more flexibility to voters.

  • In some states, convicted felons may be deprived of their voting rights.

The Path to Public Office

Running for office in the United States typically has certain requirements that candidates must meet, but these can vary depending on the specific position and jurisdiction.

Disparities in Political Representation

The following statistics highlight the ongoing need to address barriers and promote inclusivity in political participation. Efforts to increase representation from under-represented groups are crucial for ensuring diverse perspectives and equitable decision-making in the political sphere.

Civic Engagement Infographic

The Age Old Question

Ever wonder why some members of Congress seem like they’ve been around forever? We're diving into the age game—how old Congress members are and if there should be age limits. But, you can make sure the voices of the new generation are heard loud and clear in the world of politics.

Congress Has Never Been Older (1:00)

Should there be age limits in Congress? (1:52)

Politicians don't represent Gen Z (5:40)

Age Disparities in Congress

Empowering Youth Voices

Being informed and advocating for issues in politics is a great way for you to engage in your community and make a positive impact.

Youth Voter Impact

Check out some statistics about youth voters and instances where young people have influenced elections.
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Historical Examples

  • In the 2008 U.S. presidential election, young voters played a significant role in electing President Barack Obama. Approximately 66% of voters aged 18-29 supported Obama, and their high turnout helped swing the election in his favor.

  • In the 1992 U.S. presidential election, known as the "Year of the Youth," young voters played a crucial role in electing President Bill Clinton. Clinton's campaign focused on issues that resonated with young people, such as education and economic opportunities, leading to increased youth voter turnout.

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Youth-Led Movements

  • The March for Our Lives movement, led by teenage survivors of the Parkland school shooting in 2018, brought attention to gun control and youth activism. The movement organized rallies, protests, and voter registration drives, mobilizing young voters and influencing the conversation around gun violence prevention.

  • The Sunrise Movement has helped elect hundreds of Green New Deal champions at all levels of government, gotten thousands of politicians to sign the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge, and mobilized our generation to make climate a top issue in our elections.

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The Youth Vote 2024

  • 57% of youth, ages 18-34, say they’re “extremely likely” to vote in 2024, and another 15% say they’re “fairly likely” to cast a ballot in the election. (Tufts University)

  • Among youth who are extremely likely to vote: 51% back the Democratic candidate, 30% the Republican, and 16% are undecided. (Tufts University)

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation highlights that Gen-Z tends to lean towards progressive policies on issues like climate change, racial justice, and affordable education.

Ways to Make a Difference

Select each plus sign to get ideas for how you can get involved and make a difference!

Tech and Politics

What does technology have to do with politics? Let's find out.

Yikes! Social Media Influencers and Politics

A recent study, conducted by Wael Jabr and his team at Penn State, explored how social media influencers impact elections. The researchers found that influencers on platforms like Instagram or Twitter can make political parties change their positions to attract more voters, especially those who haven't decided yet. However, this can also make people's opinions more extreme. The study suggests that policymakers should be careful about how social media is used during elections to make sure people get accurate information. Read about it.

social media influencers
Fake News

Uh Oh: Fake News and AI in Politics

A recent article, AI-Generated Fake News Is Coming to an Election Near You, discusses the rise of AI-generated misinformation. The University of Cambridge Social Decision-Making Laboratory trained an AI model, GPT-2, to create misleading but believable news stories. Using the Misinformation Susceptibility Test (MIST), they found that 41% of Americans believed a fake vaccine headline, and 46% thought the government manipulated the stock market. The article warns that AI-generated misinformation could impact elections, with examples of viral fake stories and AI-assisted political campaigns. The author predicts increased use of AI in spreading disinformation and suggests potential consequences for democracy. Read the article.

Tech and Civic Empowerment

From interactive learning platforms to secure voting apps and AI-powered tools, technology offers exciting possibilities to inspire, inform, and mobilize the next generation of civic leaders. These concepts are just the beginning of new ideas. Think about how you could develop, expand, or tweak them to fit your vision and make an impact in your community.

Next-Gen Civic Learning Hub

Envision this business concept: an online platform, using Lenovo Education solutions, offering high school students an interactive space. Think beyond traditional learning methods—consider incorporating VR simulations, multimedia content, and quizzes to make civic education exciting and accessible.

next gen tab 1
truth seeker tab

AI Truth-Seeker Bot

Imagine this product idea: a browser extension, which could be fueled by Lenovo AI, that acts as an instant fact-checker during online political discussions. How might this technology foster accuracy and elevate discussions on social media? Think about ways to refine this concept for maximum impact.

Civic Gaming App

Explore the potential of a Lenovo Legion-branded mobile app, transforming civic education into an interactive game. How can you make learning about politics, candidates, and civic duties more engaging for high schoolers? Consider refining this product idea to make civic education enjoyable. (inspired by Lenovo Legion Magic).

gaming tab
activism tab

Youth Activism Toolkit

Conceptualize this idea for a campaign: an app toolkit that empowers student activists. How can you create easy-to-use templates and interactive content for social media campaigns? Consider adapting this idea to provide tools for young activists advocating civic engagement.

AI Mentor for Civic Education

Envision an AI chatbot (using Lenovo Smart Assist capabilities) guiding high schoolers through civic education. How might this virtual mentor simplify complex processes and encourage active participation? Consider refining this product idea for personalized civic learning experiences.

AI-mentor

Next Steps

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Mentor Moment: Ask Questions!

Did you know that there are professionals, who created the Challenge, standing by to help you? They will also be judging your final pitches, so be sure to take advantage throughout the Challenge and post your questions on your dashboard. They want you to win!

What are you curious about? Ask them any questions that came up for you during the Explore phase.

Three Approaches: Your Choice!

One important part of The KnoPro Challenges is choosing the type of solution you plan to create (in a group or solo) and ultimately pitch to the judges. Check out an example of each of your choices: a product idea, a new business concept, or a marketing campaign. You can also get inspiration from all the winning projects.

Flip the cards to help you decide which approach you may want to take. Later in the Challenge, you'll choose ONE approach.

Product

Product Idea

Product Idea

Get creative and come up with a new product idea that addresses the problem. This might be an app, a game, or a consumer product, for example. The possibilities are endless! You’ll write a design brief to plan your product, and ultimately create a “prototype” to pitch to the judges.
Business

Business Concept

Business Concept

Imagine a unique business idea that addresses the problem. This might be a for-profit or non-profit venture, an online platform, or an in-person experience/pop-up shop, for example. The possibilities are limitless! Write a business plan, and then create a fun way to share your business idea with the judges.
Marketing (1)

Marketing Campaign

Marketing Campaign

Design an exciting and catchy marketing campaign that addresses the problem and inspires people to act! The campaign might be a viral social media video, a series of emails, or a live event, for example. You’ll write up a marketing plan and then create some "assets" and pitch your idea to the judges.

Narrow the Issue

Get ready to choose a focus, an audience, and a brainstorming question!