Living In The Digital Age

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Essential Question(s): 

Why is living in this age, the so called Digital Age, very different than living in the "past" ?  

What benefits, challenges and problems are we faced with because of the impact of technology (computers and Internet) on society?

(Skip past the intro stuff for details on the projects)

Introduction to the unit

Computers and the Internet have facilitated a massive change in how we can live our lives.  Together, they have helped us leap into the "digital age".  We live in an age where information is instantly and readily available to more people than ever before.  

We are becoming a "society of knowledge workers". Technology is accelerating a rapid transition from a focus on producing "tangible" artifacts and objects to one focused on creating "digital" products and services.   

Although it may be easier to communicate with people today, than perhaps ever before, the amount of digital information and media at our fingertips seems overwhelming at times. 

Much of what is "published" as information today may have a short life span and "dissolve into the past", or we may end up as a future society saddled with an "information glut of non decomposing garbage".

Who will "own" the rights to "information production and distribution" in this age as we move from the tangible to the digital product?  How can we protect the rights of information "owners", if there are any rights to protect? Some say that "information wants to be free" and that no one should really own "knowledge".

We will be exploring many of these issues and topics related to living in the digital age.


"…to say that we live in an unprecedented age of information is merely to say that we have available more statements [information] about the world than we ever had.... how we can distinguish between what is true and what is false [information]? Aside from schools, which are supposed to attend to the matter but largely ignore it, is there any institution or medium that is concerned with the problem of misinformation?"  Neil Postman, Building a Bridge to the 18th Century

"I would much prefer to be in an age of faith, an age of discovery, an age of reason, than an age of information." Theodore Roszak, The Cult of Information: The Folklore of Computers and the True Art of Thinking .

In the 21st century, the fittest will be those who can adapt and change, those who can obtain the information they need and learn skills quickly, as required. John Kehoe in Waking Up in the Age of Information

"We live in a moment of history where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing." - R.D. Laing

"From the Stone Age, to the Industrial Age, to the Information Age, the rate of technological change has increased exponentially, and appears to continue to do so for the foreseeable future.  Our world is changed by new technical innovations every second of every day, and we struggle to deal with the negative impacts on society, as well as reap the great benefits of technological innovation.  Is this really what we want to call 'progress' ?" - Mr. Silverman

Important Notice:

There are several deliverables for this project.  They are subject to change.  You must take notes in class each day in order to effectively participate in discussions, and to be able to complete your projects properly.  Don't forget to go back and read the intro stuff.

Try to follow the simplified outline for this unit.  Note that we may cover more or less material, based on our class schedule.  (Therefore, we may not cover all of the topics, or we may take them in a different order).

If you were taking notes digitally, what would your digital notebook mindmap (notes) look like at the end of the unit?  I suggest you take notes in Inspiration if you want to try!

List of Vocabulary words to know

Random links to some resources in no particular order:

Alex Barnett on Information Overload
My brief Internet safety resources page
The Digital Note Taking Rubric
My "cookies" demo page
Fighting Spyware - Useful Downloads
Phishing Attacks News and IRS Phishing Scam 
Microsoft Security At Home Quizzes
PC World - Internet & Networking (various topics)

Suggestions for other random links are welcome....see me in class.

  Possible Project Assignments: Major deliverables of the unit are double sided, 3 column, folding brochures (MS-Word, or MS-Publisher) on topics we discuss in class.  Larger format "newsletters" are also acceptable.  Alternatives are possible.  See me individually about these options if you are interested.

First Project

The first project is concerned with using the Internet safely and protecting your computer from harm.

General Guidelines:

Use only 8 or 10 point font (or smaller) for inside text (except titles and headings)
Must be all your own words (original text, no quotes)
Provide citations / references / helpful websites.
Do not "fill" your pages with graphics or white space - more text is better
Any graphics must be original artwork by you or clip art from Microsoft.  
If using MS-Publisher, you can keep the imbedded style / clip artwork.  

Suggested titles for your first brochure are:

Computers and the Internet
How the Internet Works
Using the Internet Safely
History of the Internet and the WWW
Keeping Your Computer Safe from Malware and Spyware

You also need to decide on your audience (parents, students, teachers, other).  Remember to write for your audience, not for me.

Use this sample layout for a brochure (MS-Publisher) or your own MS-Word 3 column format (see below) when directed to do so in class.

Rubric is available for brochures.  Will be discussed in class.

Hint: If you are using MS-Word, use the menu command Insert -> Columns to create a 3 column document.  Click the thumbnail for more detail------->

insert_columns.gif (12593 bytes)

File must be saved to D13SHARE and printed in class.


Second Project (of this unit of study)

The topic for the second project of this unit (start of 4th quarter) is concerned with "Personal Internet Safety and Using Weblogs / Social Networking Sites Safely" and Cyberbullying

Your choices are (do only one):

Write a 2 page brochure (in Word or Publisher) in your own words on topics below -or-
Do the YDTNP project as described in class - an original design of a game using hyperlinking in PowerPoint.

If you choose the brochure....

Suggested topics to cover in your brochure (please write only on personal safety - do not repeat any information ifrom the previous project, like computer viruses) are:

Using Weblogs and Personal Web Sites Safely
Using Social Networking Sites Safely
CyberBullying on the Internet
Rubric for brochure is similar to the first brochure project.

If you choose the game...

The game must be "all about being safe using social networking weblogs"...The class ISGG (Internet Social Group Game) project !

Your game must have:

An Intro / Title slide
Introduction to your characters
Minimum of 3 characters and 3 questions / tests for understanding

You will need to be able to work with almost no assistance on this one, and you must be comfortable using text boxes, graphic manipulation and hyperlinks in PowerPoint.  A "class friend" must agree to "test" the project and report on their findings on your rubric. Check out the rubric for the ISGG project before you decide to do it as your project choice.

Some work may need to be done at extra help or at home.  Plan ahead !  See my homepage for the deadline schedule.

Reminder: Writing in your own words on any project is essential and required.  DO NOT COPY AND PASTE INFORMATION FROM THE INTERNET (OR FROM ANOTHER STUDENT'S PROJECT) !

Any plagiarism found on these assignments will be graded severely with an instant zerosm.  There is no chance for a 'redo' on assignments where plagiarism is found.

(Tech bonus coupons or extra credit will not be accepted for any project work graded in a quarter where an instant zerosm has been earned.)

home All original content and curriculum on this website is copyright   © 2002-2007 Norman I. Silverman, Technology Education Teacher,  and may not be reproduced in any form for any purpose without my permission.