Using technology skilfully

Lesson powerpoint here.

What’s so good about tech?

  • Ask the pupils to describe the different feelings they experience when using tech (positive and negative).
  • Discuss (there are some suggestions on the slides).
  • Ask pupils to identify the needs that tech might meet in us.
  • Discuss (again, suggestions on slides).
  • Ask pupils to list the ways in which technology might imprison, limit or even harm us.
  • Discuss.

Brain hacking and the attention economy.

  • Ask pupils to identify from their experience, the ways in which adults are worried about the way that they use tech.
  • Discuss. Are the adults legitimately concerned? Are they blowing things out of proportion? What’s the reality of the situation?
  • Play pupils this video from BBC Newsnight on brain hacking and the attention economy.
  • Ask them to identify the different ways in which tech might hook us in and potentially create addictions.

Case Study: Timbertop.

  • Give pupils the information about the Timbertop campus at Geelong Grammar School in Australia, where Year 9 (our Year 10) pupils spend an entire school year on a mountain campus without any access to internet/smartphones. What do they think about the idea that electronic entertainment is not permitted? How do they think the Timbertop pupils get on with this (they quickly get used to not having phones/internet)? Do they think it’s fair for a school to do this?

Meeting the challenges of tech.

  • Show pupils the 6 different tech-related scenarios. Ask them to identify the potential problems or harms for each scenario.
  • Ask pupils, in small groups, to work out how they would deal with each situation and ask them to present their solution to the whole class.

Electronic-lite day: another possible solution.

  • Ask pupils to think about having a day over the next fortnight where they reduce their electronic use to an absolute minimum. What would they have to do to make this work? What problems would this cause? How would they avoid the temptation to use electronic devices for communication/entertainment/work etc? How can they work around the need for texting etc?
  • Ask pupils to predict what their ‘electronic lite’ day would be like. How would it feel? What benefits would there be, what struggles would they need to overcome? How might they overcome them.
  • Discuss.

Prep: ask pupils to have an ‘electronic lite’ day and write about their experiences.