Indiana University Bloomington

Center on Congress at IU recognized for excellence in online educational resources

  • May 12, 2014


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- In an affirmation of the Center on Congress’ reputation as a leader in providing engaging content on civics and government, two online educational resources of the center won high recognition in the 12th annual Horizon Interactive Awards competition.

The Congressional Moments iPad app was a Gold winner in the Mobile Apps-Education category, and the Teaching With Primary Sources website was a Silver winner in the Websites-Training/E-Learning category.

Both winners are products of a partnership of the Center on Congress at Indiana University with d’Vinci Interactive, which creates websites, Web and mobile applications, and e-learning experiences for educational and training purposes.

The Horizon Interactive Awards is a prestigious international competition recognizing the best websites, videos and mobile applications, and print, video and online advertising. A panel of industry professionals, from diverse multimedia, graphic design and marketing backgrounds, reviews the entries.

“We’re pleased to be ranked among the ‘best of the best’ in interactive media,” said Center on Congress Director Lee Hamilton. “It’s vital for the future of American democracy that civics, government and history be taught in a creative and compelling manner.”

The Gold-winning Congressional Moments app uses an array of photographs and other primary source images from the Library of Congress’ vast digital collection to show that our lives are profoundly shaped by the actions of the national legislature.

The app offers an interactive tour of landmark congressional accomplishments in six areas: child labor laws, civil rights legislation, women’s suffrage, the Marshall Plan, the National Park Service, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Its development was funded through the center’s participation in the Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources program.

The app features a “Hear From Experts” section in which two leading National Council for the Social Studies teachers -- past president Sue Blanchette and 2011 Teacher of the Year Ben Weber -- explain how to get the most out of primary sources. There’s an interactive quiz to help students learn about the difference between primary and secondary sources. A key goal of the app is to get students to look at information with a critical eye and be aware that even primary sources are not always completely accurate and trustworthy.

The Silver-winning Teaching With Primary Sources website offers more than two dozen online activities to engage students in learning about Congress, representative democracy and citizen participation. The interactive exercises -- which, again, draw on the Library of Congress’ digital primary source materials -- include Analyzing Political Cartoons, Understanding Persuasion Techniques, Understanding Historical Context and Exploring Primary Sources.

The website also links to the Congressional Moments app and to the Civic Quotes app, which takes the user through 64 primary-source images and related notable quotations from a variety of U.S. political leaders. The Civic Quotes app was a Bronze winner in last year’s Horizon competition.

Content featured in partnership with the Teaching With Primary Sources program does not indicate endorsement by the Library of Congress of additional content provided by the partner organization.

About the Center on Congress

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 of Representatives that Americans should be more familiar with Congress’s 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.

About d’Vinci Interactive

D’Vinci Interactive is a wholly owned subsidiary of JPL, a Pennsylvania-based agency that provides creative marketing, internal communications and learning solutions to regional, national and global brands. Since 1994, d’Vinci has served many leading businesses, national associations and government agencies, including clients such as the American Board of Pediatrics, the National Institutes of Health, the National Park Service and the Center on Congress.

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Wayne Vance

Assistant director

  • Center on Congress
  • Office 812-856-4706