In this lesson students begin tackling the question of whether digitizing information has made the world a better or worse place. To begin the lesson, students place stickies on a spectrum of "worse" to "better" to state their opinion prior to doing the activity. Students then choose an article they are interested in reading using a process the class completed collectively in the previous lesson. Students will discuss their preliminary reading and opinions after today's lesson and will have a chance to start making an artifact to present their findings.


Students will be able to:


At this point in the unit students understand a great deal about how information is digitized and they are ready to start considering the impacts of digitization on society at large.

This lesson is very similar to the project that students will complete at the end of Unit 2 in which students evaluate the benefits and harms of connecting humanity through vast networks.


Getting Started


Prompt: Is our world better or worse because of digital representation? Place a sticky note (or draw an X) on the board at the place on the line that feels right to you right now.

Discussion Goal

This activity is supposed to be open-ended and something that students come back to at the end of this lesson and the following one. Don't enforce too many rules and don't spend too much time. Just ask them to make a decision and let them know they'll have a chance to make a change to their choice at the end of the next two lessons.

When students have filled in the spectrum it will look something like the drawing below.

A line has been drawn on a whiteboard, with the left side labelled 'worse' and the right side labelled 'better.' Several sticky notes have been adhered to the whiteboard at different points on top of the line.




Teaching Tip

Role of the Assessment: In this lesson, students begin a two day project where they will demonstrate their understanding of key issues surrounding digital information. This project is designed to be used in tandem with the Unit 1 Assessment to evaluate student progress in Unit 1 content. You may find after this assessment that students are confused about how some things are represented digitally. This is a good opportunity to go back and review key takeaways from previous lessons before continuing on to the Unit 1 Assessment.

Distribute: Students pick one of the articles below.

Do This: Students take their chosen article and do the following:

Group: Create groups of students who read the same article. You may need to have more than one group for a single article.

Prompt: Share your 10 word summary with the group and discuss the main content in the articles. Together look up any unfamiliar words or concepts.

Discussion Goal

At the end of this time, students should feel comfortable with the content of their articles. Opinions will be shared later.


Prompt: Is our world in a better or worse place because of digital representation?

Do This:

Have students re-read their article in order to answer these questions. Students leave comments in the margins and text of the article.

Students should continue to annotate or record quotes from the article to do the following:

Prompt: Check back in with your group. Share some of the sentences you annotated. Did everyone identify the same areas?


Do This: Direct students to create posters by following instructions on the lesson slides. Students will divide a sheet of paper into four quadrants and write information in each of the quadrants. For this lesson, students will complete the top two quadrants. In the next lesson, they will finish the bottom two.

Do This: Complete the top two quadrants.

Teaching Tip

Student answers will vary. Students could answer in complete sentences, draw pictures, or use other creative ways to represent information.

Wrap Up

Prompt: Do you think there is always both a benefit and a harm to digitizing analog content? Why or why not?

Discussion Goal

Answers will vary. The goal here is for students to start thinking about the tradeoffs when it comes to digitizing the world.

Assessment: Check for Understanding

Question: Many museums have digital catalogs of their collections. What are the potential benefits and harms of creating these digital catalogs?

Standards Alignment