Who is American Today?

This ongoing research project aims to investigate what and who students consider "American" to be, and how digital media skills play a role in their civic identity. We are currently looking for educators and their classrooms to participate in this important and relevant research.



Our Invitation to You

We’d like to invite you and your students to participate in a nation-wide project that explores the idea of national identity today. We feel that you’ll find this topic and its use of digital media to be very timely.

The students that participate in this project will create a 2-3-minute video narrative in response to the prompt (Who is American Today?). We believe in promoting Critical Digital Citizenship with High School students; and furthermore having them answer and ask important questions that they might confront living in the United States today.

This project also provides a unique opportunity for students to create their own digital content, not just consume it within your classroom. We have found that digital story telling is an ideal art form for articulating more delicate topics; and that it has the potential to help widen students’ perspectives.


Student puts together a storyboard, Provo High School



More information

A good place to begin is to have your students produce a written response to the questions:

  • What does an American look like for you today?
  • (Think about this in terms or your family, school and community)
  • What ideas or people come to mind?
  • What do they look like and what do they represent?
  • Do you see yourself as an accurate representation of an American today?

From there you can follow the suggested progression as outlined in the diagram provided in the Education Package. There is also a rubric included for evaluating their digital stories which we encourage you to consider.

We also expect that you’ll have many opportunities to discuss as a class topics related to this issue and hope that you’ll see this as a catalyst for having students articulating their various views and potentially promoting collaboration, and that give students the opportunity to think about these ideas and become more educated about views that are different than their own.

It’s critical to create a climate of mutual respect in your classroom while addressing this difficult and complex topic. Bringing up arguments and debating the idea of “being American” can bring out controversy and anger for some students, so fostering these conversations in a safe and enriching environment is crucial.


Students discuss work in a critique setting, Provo High School