Smartphones have the potential to change the way we teach civics.
One of the most daunting steps on the path to becoming an American citizen is the exam administered by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which quizzes applicants on their knowledge of American history and the foundations of the United States government. It's not like you really need to know who wrote the Federalist Papers in order to be a productive member of American society, and many Americans don't even know the answers to questions like that despite growing up in the country, but it's a rite of passage people go through every day. One app wants to make the process a little less daunting.
The Daily Dot outlines the basics:
While the title is certainly a mouthful, the app does an amazing job translating the official USCIS pamphlet into smaller, digestible bits of information. It breaks down the hundred questions into four single-topic practice tests, with an additional test that focuses on state-related topics (like the name of your senator or your state capital). All tests are multiple choice and come with audio versions that you can play, in case you wanted to simulate the oral interview.
As we become more and more comfortable with smartphones and apps as a society, we'll start to see their uses evolve. We can use apps to better ourselves at Candy Crush, but maybe we can use apps to better society and politics as well -- beyond civics tests, maybe we can even use apps to vote in elections one day.