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University of California, San Diego

Teaching Impacts of Technology: Relationships

University of California, San Diego via Coursera


In this course you’ll focus on how “smart” devices have changed how we interact with others in personal ways, impacting how we stay connected in our increasingly mobile society. This will be done through a series of paired teaching sections, exploring a specific “Impact of Computing” in your typical day and the “Technologies and Computing Concepts” that enable that impact, all at a K12-appropriate level. This course is part of a larger Specialization through which you’ll learn impacts of computing concepts you need to know, organized into 5 distinct digital “worlds”, as well as learn pedagogical techniques and evaluate lesson plans and resources to utilize in your classroom. By the end, you’ll be prepared to teach pre-college learners to be both savvy and effective participants in their digital world. In this particular digital world (relationships), you’ll explore the following Impacts & Technology pairs -- Impacts (Keep me connected in a mobile society):, personal relationships, facebook, circle of friends Technology and Computing Concepts: algorithms, software engineering evolution, heuristics, computer runtime, big O notation, P vs NP Impacts (Making geography-based connections): findings friends, maps, geolocation Technology and Computing Concepts: data and binary, image encoding, pixels, how color pickers work, filters, blurs In the pedagogy section for this course, in which best practices for teaching computing concepts are explored, you’ll learn about the current CSTA K-12 CS Standards and practice using them to review and apply to lesson plans, as well as how to apply the ICAP framework to connect your students’ engagement to active learning outcomes, such as through peer instruction. In terms of CSTA K-12 computer science standards, we’ll primarily cover learning objectives within the “impacts of computing” concept, while also including some within the “networks and the Internet” concepts and the “data and analysis” concept. Practices we cover include “fostering and inclusive computing culture”, “recognizing and defining computational problems”, and “communicating about computing”.


  • Course Orientation
    • Welcome! Are you interested in teaching about the impacts technology has on our relationships? To learn more about the computation and computing concepts that underlie those technologies? We'll be using a problem-based approach to explore interesting ways to teach concepts of networks and the internet, data and analysis, and even algorithms and data representation. Finally, we'll evaluate, critique and improve/personalize two lesson plans -- one of your choice and one on pixels. Specifically, we'll be looking to improve these lesson plans by increasing the amount of interactive learning time for students.
  • Keeping Connected in a Global Society
    • How has your ability to connect with friends and family changed since social media has become so ubiquitous? What different groups of people are you connected to? Besides looking at the impact of social media on our lives and society, we'll also take a detailed look at the history and development of the Facebook newsfeed algorithm -- learning a bit about software engineering , user experience, and heuristics. From interacting with a Facebook visualization tool we'll be curious to investigate what causes programs to take a long time to run and how computer scientists categorize how long it will take for programs to run.
  • Making Geography-based Connections
    • With so much more knowledge being collected about our physical location, we have new ways we can find friends and support relationships among those "close" to us. We'll look at several apps that leverage this and dive into digital image representations needed to support filters like those found in Snapchat.
  • Impacts of Computing and Supporting Interactive Learning
    • This week we'll introduce the Computer Science K-12 Framework and the Computer Science Teachers Association K-12 Computer Science Standards which are starting to frame state K-12 Computer Science standards in the US. We'll guide you in finding and developing a lesson plan for a particular grade band around a resource for learning about the impact of technology on culture. Next we'll learn a bit about further differentiating and defining "active learning" using the ICAP (interactive, constructive, active, passive) learning framework and see how Peer Instruction can be used to scaffold interactive learning experiences.
  • More lesson plans for interactivity: Impacts and Encoding Images
    • This week is all about giving you the time and excuse to develop lesson plans you can use (and/or share with colleagues!) We'll be improving lesson plans (including the one you created last week) to increase the amount of "interactive" learning in them. Additionally, we'll try to align these lessons with CSTA standards -- recognizing that these may have been produced before the CSTA standards existed. However, the process of seeing how they fit (or don't fit) with the standards may help give us ideas on how these lessons could be modified.

Taught by

Beth Simon


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