Unit 1. Your Virtual WorldRevision Date: Jul 24, 2015 (Version 1.2)
Students must complete a pre-reading assignment (the first chapter of Blown To Bits, which can be found free online). This pre-reading can be assigned at the end of Unit 0.
Students will read about the "Digital Explosion" and discuss exponential growth. They will discuss and share insights on what a world without digital communication would be like and investigate some of the things that are possible because of digital communication. They will then share their findings with the class.
Chapter 1 of "Blown to Bits" and the lesson motivate students to begin thinking about the advancement of technology and its impact on many aspects of their lives (both positively and negatively). Subsequent lessons will research particular impacts on society in more depth.
Students will consider a world without digital communication to emphasize the impact that computers have on their everyday lives and how integral computers and digital communication have become to our ordinary existence.
Student computer usage for this lesson is: none
In the Lesson Resources Folder:
Prior to the Lesson:
During the lesson, students will need:
This lesson assumes that students have either taken a previous CS course or that you have done Unit 0, so that students know what a computer is, how to write a basic algorithm, and the basic history of technology. It also assumes that students have read Blown to Bits, Chapter 1.
Have students work in pairs to discuss and answer the following questions. (If possible, provide students with calculators. An exact value is not required to formulate an answer. The choices reflect three different types of growth.)
Someone offers you a summer job with a choice of three pay rates:
1. $10 per hour for eight hours of work for day for 30 days.
2. One dollar the first day, two dollars the second day, three dollars the third day, and so on (increasing by one dollar each day).
3. One cent on day one, two cents on day two, four cents on day three, and so on (doubling each day for 30 days).
Which pay rate would you choose? Why? What does this illustrate?
Solution: After 30 days,
Clearly, the last choice is the best, even though it starts with the lowest value (although you are unlikely to receive such an offer!)
This activity illustrates exponential growth (which was discussed in the chapter in the context of data growth).
Have students discuss with their partner the answers to the pre-reading questions from Blown To Bits Chapter 1 (see Questions to Consider in Teacher Resources).
Choose one of the more open-ended questions from the pre-reading questions. Either:
Have partners pick their most interesting answers and post them or write them on something in the front of the room to share with the class.
Use a creative method for dividing students up into teams of 3-4 (line up by birthday, etc.)
You can use the presentation "What If Part 1" as a guide through this lesson.
|At School||At Home||Other Places|
Students may not use any digital devices to complete this activity. This assignment must be handwritten. If students need a copy of their assignment for the class discussion, they must write another copy. Have students submit their assignment at the start of the next class.
Have students write in their journals: What is the most important digital device in your life? Why is it the most important?
Use the presentation "What If Part 2" to remind the students about the scenario from the previous class. Working in the same teams from the previous class, have the students develop a step-by-step plan for getting a message to their parents without using any form of digital communication. This activity must be completed without using any digital tool.
Teams brainstorm and organize ideas about the impact of digital communication. This activity uses the results from the Day 1 homework.
Discussion: Students work in their teams to answer the following questions:
Each member of your team should choose one of the following topics:
*Note – these topics are just suggestions
In the following question, fill in the blank with your chosen topic. Write a paragraph responding to the question. Be sure to include examples and evidence to support your ideas and answer.
Imagine that the digital world that we know now never existed. There are no computers or cell phones -- no digital communication at all. Write a short story that takes place in this non-digital world. Include how your characters would communicate in different situations and how daily life would be. Be as creative as you can.
If time permits, have a few students share their stories.
For this activity, students need to use their last social media post the created on Day 1.
Journal - Hooray! Digital communication has been restored after three years. Look at your last social media post, and think about the following questions.
Have students discuss their reflections with an elbow partner.
Consider different ways to choose teams and assign team roles
Interview with a User of an Enhancing Technology
If you are familiar with an individual who benefits from an abilities-enhancing innovation or a technology that helps the individual overcome a disability, interview the person about the impact the technology has had on his or her life. Ask them questions about how the innovation works, how it has affected the way they live (the ways in which they play or work). Ask about how it has affected their family and friends. If possible, record the interview. Ask for permission to share with your classmates or to post online.
Speculate about Today's Innovations
Select a recent innovation - something recently in the news. Predict the impact that this innovation will have on individuals. Predict any societal impacts you can foresee. Label the impacts as positive or negative. Explain your reasons for the label.