Technology Connects / Technology Divides

An Inquiry Lesson for 7th – 12th Grades

By Ethan Delavan


Students will apply meta-cognition to conduct an inquiry into the effects of technology as a unifying or divisive force in their relationships with others, while critiquing source information and supporting a call to action with visual displays.

Inquiry Question:

Does the technology we’ve created bring us together as a society, or does it push us apart?


Internet research access and digital presentation tools.


Create a digital presentation for your students which demonstrates either that technology pulls us together as a global community or that it tears us apart. Your presentation should model how they might present their own findings. It should be visually engaging, relevant to the age group you are trying to reach and controversial.

For example, you might highlight conclusions from the Kaiser Family Foundation about youth media consumption. Their research found an inverse proportion between hours of media consumption and personal contentedness. Or you might document the work of William Kamkwamba, a rural African youth who used any media he could find to create a hand-­‐built, wind-­‐powered electric generator for his village. (See Resources.) (more…)

Google Earth: search & rescue

Grade level: Grades 6-­8

by Thomas Petra


  • Plan and simulate a search and rescue operation
  • Choose and map a SAR search pattern
  • Compute time travelled using a rate
  • Justify problem solving decisions
  • Determine success of the SAR operation



Students work in groups as emergency responders on a search and rescue mission at sea. After identifying pertinent variables of the situation they become acquainted with U.S. Coast Guard search patterns and procedures. They are given a helicopter and cutter to perform the search but need to take into account each vehicle’s limits. Once the groups have gathered the necessary information they need to decide how to conduct their search using the equipment and data available to them. Google Docs is a great resource to guide and record this exchange.

The SAR patterns are mapped in Google Earth. One path marks the cutter’s search pattern and another for the helicopter. The search vehicles’ speed needs to be used to calculate each turn in the pattern. This is marked in Google Earth with placemarks denoting the time. (more…)

Screencasting and flipped instruction: beyond math

In response to recent articles on the concept of flipped instruction and iPad screencasting reviews, some educators have emailed or commented and asked how time-shifting lectures can be used beyond mathematics classes or math-based science classes.

Here are 10 quick examples of non-math flipped classroom ideas. The entire video clip was created using Explain Everything for the iPad.

Examples are provided for :

  • Language arts – sentence diagrams
  • Music instruction – reading a staff and ukelele tuning
  • Communications – user interface and graphic design elements
  • Web design – basic HTML5 structure
  • Visual art – vocabulary terms for photography
  • History – timelines and inventions
  • Health – the food plate replaces the food pyramid
  • Learning support – reading fluency support
  • Community service – coordinated neighborhood improvement
  • Foreign Language – drawing Mandarin Chinese characters

A Brief History of Computing and the Internet

Appropriate grade level: 5th – 7th
Download a Brief History of Computing and the Internet.

NOTE to teacher:

Not all students have strong reading skills, and some have trouble alphabetizing – help them work with the dictionaries in a subtle way and take note for future lessons or collaborations with reading specialists and language arts teachers.

Learning Objectives:

  • To introduce ENIAC, one of the first super-computers, and its size and power in comparison to today’s computers.
  • To understand that the computer as accessible technology has become popular only in the last 50 years. (more…)