Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Technology & Society Assignment #1, Digital Responsibility: How Students Responded

AN ASIDE: just recently someone posed a question on one of my earlier posts about the course content of the APCS Principles pilot class that has (and will continue to) appear as a regular discussion topic here.  I responded via  comment. If you want to see that information yourself, read the post and comments from September 30 .

And now back to our featured topic of today.

The students in the APCS pilot class completed their first Technology & Society (T & S) assignment. The instructor (Beth Simon) is very pleased with the results and is at work on plans to build upon the positive outcome as part of the next T & S assignment.

As a prelude to that plan, I want to give you some additional information about the results of this first assignment  which concerned Digital Responsibility. Students were asked to locate an article that address a topic in this area. They provided a brief summary of the article and listed some "non obvious issues of digital responsibility". Other students responded to their peers' posts.

The breadth of posts and responses even in this large class was impressive. Students did a very good job, especially for a first assignment, in starting to reflect on complex issues.

Many students commented on articles about the Assistant Attorney General in Michigan, USA, who has been posting attacks on his personal blog aimed at a gay student leader at the Univ. of Michigan.

Another very popular topic concerned a girl who was cyber bullied not only in life, but after she died as well.
One of the most active sets of conversations concerned online gaming, in particular the situation where a South Korean student apparently was so addicted that he died of exhaustion and possible heart failure. I include the article link.
This topic really seems to have hit home for many students as dozens weighed in with opinions.

As instructor Beth Simon weighs options for following up on this assignment she is reflecting herself on a variety of issues. She would like to not only present another timely societal topic but help students to introspect even more deeply - all students. What are some good ways to do so?
One idea under consideration is to provide students with examples from this assignment of "good" and "better" responses. This approach validates the students' work on the first T&S assignment while scaffolding them to take their thoughts and analysis to the next level. Another idea under consideration is to present students with two very different large scale digital approaches to bringing people together for a worthy cause, yet are based upon very different philosophies. Then ask them to in some way consider the implications and outcomes of each.
Stay tuned.

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