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Main goals and introduction to Vox Pop Academy

The method used by Vox Pop Academy is well aligned with the mission of civic education in (Dutch) high schools. Civic education’s primary focus lies on promoting active citizenship and social integration, mostly by educating in, and introducing students to, different cultures and backgrounds that are represented in society. Diversity is a main principle in modern societies. Creating awareness among students is therefore an important task. Vox Pop Academy wants to contribute to creating this awareness in an innovative and interactive way. In class, the tool can be used to support the existing curriculum on civic education. 

 

Leon Horbach on the goals of Vox Pop Academy (Dutch)

 

How does it work

The Vox Pop method facilitates one-on-one discussions by matching users according to their different characteristics, and allowing them to discuss relevant topics and theses. When used during elections, users are matched based on different political party preferences, in an attempt to burst the infamous filter bubble and to bring the public debate closer to citizens.

Vox Pop Academy digitally links students from different backgrounds together. In class, students go to the platform and log in using their respective schools and usernames. Teachers that are participating are informed on the topic beforehand, allowing them to prepare themselves and their students in time. All students go online simultaneously, and the platform algorithm matches students from different schools in one-on-one chat environments. Here, students can train their practical democratic skills and be introduced to the ideas of their peers. In mulitple conversations with different partners students will come across a variety of (sub) topics and opinions, providing them an exciting and interactive class.

 

Results and continuity

Vox Pop Academy’s primary goal is to promote civic and democratic skills, both practically and theoretically. The learning process will be made insightful in two ways. A qualitative analysis through surveys for teachers and students will give insights on their experience. In addition, computational linguistics algorithms will analyze the transcripts, extracting real meaning and sentiment from the many conversations. This will provide insights as to how students from different backgrounds feel and communicate about certain themes and topics.

These results will be communicated back to the schools and teachers for them to see what the exchanges delivered. Furthermore, the gathered data has clear academic value for universities and other public research institutions, and the method can be used as an participation tool towards the political establishment.

 

The first pilot launched on the 22nd of November with four schools (± 100 students) and was very promising. We are now looking to expand our operations with as many schools as possible. Learn more on Vox Pop Academy’s website!