Throughout this unit, students will apply an analytical lens to the literature we discuss in order to evaluate each author’s perspective on technology’s potential benefits and drawbacks. To do so, it will be helpful for students to complete charts and graphic organizers to compare the way technology functions in each text and how it facilitates positive or negative outcomes. In addition to writing analytically about the literature we encounter, students will also be asked to write based on their own experiences, in order to connect the issues addressed in each text to real-world topics with which they are familiar. These reflective responses will also involve self-evaluation and require students to consider the impact of technology on their own social lives. Students will use journals to collect their responses, which can be consulted throughout the unit to compare the authors’ perspectives.
Class discussions and debates will be useful in this unit to illuminate the ways in which each text can be interpreted in multiple ways, and how each uses extrapolation to depict both positive and negative implications of advancing technology. The teacher should be prepared to play devil’s advocate in these discussions, as some of the texts may appear to students to be somewhat one-sided.
In keeping with the underlying spirit of the unit, each phase will provide students extensive opportunities for collaboration and creativity. This is particularly true during the final phase, which uses a project-based learning approach to involve student groups directly with their communities. Student choice is a major element of this final project, as groups will decide the format and purpose of their collaborative effort. Therefore, the teacher will also need to be creative and flexible when assisting students and finding solutions to any issues that may arise.
In addition to finding support in collaborative activities, struggling students will also benefit from having access to a list of texts from which they may choose for daily responses and discussions. Students should be made aware in advance of the relative difficulty levels of the texts available, and they may choose accordingly. Additionally, graphic organizers and guided responses can be helpful for students who struggle with reading to access major concepts in each text.
The first two phases of the unit also provide opportunities for accelerated learners to independently explore these issues. Literature circles and book talks may be implemented to give these students opportunities to share their findings with others.