DISCUSSION BANK

Discussion Bank

Looking for great questions you can use to stimulate class discussions, get students thinking for a writing assignment, or assess students’ understanding? These CSP-oriented conversation starters and reflection prompts probe how computing innovations can affect the way people communicate, collaborate, work, create, and make decisions.

Computers, Communication, and Information

How have the world wide web and the Internet changed the way people communicate and collaborate?

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion/brainstorm, written reflection, written assignment

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.1.1: Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
7.1.2: Explain how people participate in a problem-solving process that scales.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.1.1M, 7.1.2D (answers may also demonstrate 7.1.1A, 7.1.1B, 7.1.1C, 7.1.1D, 7.1.1E, 7.1.1H, 7.1.1N, 7.1.1O, 7.1.2F, 7.1.1G, 7.2.1C, 7.4.1B)

Other Relevant CSP Big Ideas:
6: The Internet

Source: From the CS Matters lesson “Into the Darkness: A World Without Digital Communication”

Name all of the things in this room that are connected to the Internet.

Use For: whole-class discussion, writing prompt

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.1.1: Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.

Specific Global Impact EKs: (answers may demonstrate 7.1.1J, 7.1.1K, 7.1.2G)

Other Relevant CSP Big Ideas:
6: The Internet

Source: From the CS Matters lesson “The Internet: Past and Future”

Besides reCAPTCHA, are there other problems you can think of that a strategy of capturing the work of millions of people and their computers might be able to solve?

Assumes: Designed to be used with an introduction to reCAPTCHA (such as “Fight Spam and Save Shakespeare”), but could be used with content about any similar project

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion/brainstorm, written reflection

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.1.2: Explain how people participate in a problem-solving process that scales.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.1.2C, 7.1.2E
(answers may also demonstrate 7.1.2A, 7.1.2B, 7.1.2F, 7.1.2G)

Other Relevant CSP Big Ideas:
1: Creativity

Source: From the CS Matters lesson “A Problem Solving Process That Scales”

In Blown to Bits Chapter 4, the authors claim that "search is a new form of control over information" (p. 111) and "search is power" (p. 145). Why might it be important to think about the social implications of searching on the Internet?

To get the discussion started, you can begin with a more narrow example of a special-purpose search engine, like flight/hotel aggregators.

Use For: written reflection, whole-class or small-group discussion

Assumes: Designed for use with Blown to Bits Chapter 4, but can be used independently.

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.1.1: Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1E (answers may also demonstrate 7.1.1G, 7.1.1O, 7.3.1K, 7.4.1A)

Source: From the “Search” lab in BJC

Computers and Privacy

What possible problems are there with the fact that student data (courses, grades, attendance, home address, birthdate...) is stored in a database that is easily accessible to teachers, administrators, and other staff, from any computer connected to the Internet?

Follow-Up Questions: What security concerns does this raise? What can be done to protect student data?

Use For: written assignment/assessment, written reflection, whole-class or small-group discussion

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1G, 7.3.1J, 7.3.1L
(answers may also demonstrate 7.3.1A, 7.3.1H)

Other Relevant CSP Big Ideas:
3: Data and Information
6: The Internet

Source: From the CS Matters lesson “Cybersecurity: Attacks, Protection, and Impact”

Think about your daily and weekly activities. What types of data are being stored about you?

Remind students to think about what they do online, in stores, while in a car, etc.

Use For: written reflection, whole-class or small-group discussion/brainstorm, written assessment (in the format “give at least N examples”)

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1J (answers may also demonstrate 7.1.1I, 7.1.1K, 7.3.1G, 7.3.1H, 7.3.1K, 7.3.1M)

Source: From the CS Matters lesson “Manipulating Large Data Sets”

As an app developer, what is your responsibility with regard to user data? Which of the Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics could serve as your guide on this point?

Use For: written reflection, whole-class or small-group discussion

Assumes: Requires that students have read the Ten Commandments of Computer Ethics. Also designed for use with this case study, but the latter is optional.

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1A, 7.3.1G, 7.3.1J, 7.3.1L (answers may also demonstrate 7.3.1H, 7.3.1K, 7.3.1M)

Other Relevant CSP Big Ideas:
3: Data and Information
6: The Internet

Source: From the Mobile CSP lesson “The Internet and the Cloud”

Identify one area in your life in which you purposely give up privacy. What are the risks? Why have you decided that the benefits outweigh the risks?

Use For: written reflection, small-group discussion

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1G (answers may also demonstrate 7.1.1H, 7.3.1H, 7.3.1J, 7.3.1K, 7.3.1L, 7.3.1M)

Source: From the BJC lab “Privacy; Community and Online Interactions”

Do you feel that data mining for targeting advertisements is ethical? Why or why not?

Assumes: Designed as a response to the NYT article “How Companies Learn Your Secrets”, but can be used with any similar content.

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1A, 7.3.1G, 7.3.1H, 7.3.1J, 7.3.1M (answers may also demonstrate 7.2.1A, 7.3.1K)

Other Relevant CSP Big Ideas:
3: Data and Information

Source: From the UTeach CSP lesson “Data Mining”

Computers, Ethics, and the Law

List three questions you could ask to help you decide whether an innovation is ethical.

Suggested answers might include: Does it cause physical harm? Emotional, cultural, environmental, economic, or social harm?

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion, written reflection/assignment

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Source: From the CS Matters lesson “How Innovation Affects Our Lives”

How can we teach robots right from wrong? What about a self-driving car that has to make a choice between the life of its passenger and the life of a pedestrian? How does that choice get made?

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion/brainstorm, written reflection

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1A

Source: From the BJC lab “Robots and Artificial Intelligence”

What laws apply to artificial intelligence? What happens with a robot commits a crime? Who gets punished? Who SHOULD get punished?

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion/brainstorm, written reflection, written assignment

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1A

Source: From the BJC lab “Robots and Artificial Intelligence”

Should people be allowed to say and post anything they want on the Internet?

Follow-up: Why is this question complex to answer?

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion, written reflection

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1A, 7.3.1E (answers may also demonstrate 7.3.1D, 7.3.1N, 7.4.1C)

Source: From the BJC lab “Censorship and Computing Around the World”

What should all students at your school know about cyberbullying? What school-wide policies might you suggest and communicate to the rest of the student body?

Use For: class discussion, written reflection, written assignment

Assumes: Can be used as a response to any content about cyberbullying.

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.

Source: From the BJC lab “Privacy; Community and Online Interactions”

Who should be held responsible for the harm that could result in a case involving "cyber-predators" on a site like MySpace?

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion, written reflection, written assignment

Assumes: Designed as a response to Blown to Bits Chapter 7, but can be used with any similar content

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.3.1A

Source: From the BJC lab “Censorship and Computing Around the World”

Computers and Society

Explain one challenge raised by Vint Cerf in “The Internet is for Everyone” and give one example of that challenge that you know about.

Use For: written reflection, written assignment/assessment, small-group discussion

Assumes: Requires that students have read Vint Cerf’s RFC “The Internet Is for Everyone

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Specific Global Impact EKs: (answers may demonstrate 7.3.1A, 7.3.1D, 7.3.1G, 7.3.1L, 7.4.1C, 7.4.1D, 7.4.1E)

Other Relevant CSP Big Ideas:
6: The Internet

Source: From the follow-up quiz for the Code.org CSP lesson “The Internet Is for Everyone”

Describe how the impact of social media and online access differs in two different countries that you know something about.

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion/brainstorm, written reflection, written assignment

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Specific Global Impact EKs Evaluated: 7.4.1A, 7.4.1D (answers may also demonstrate 7.4.1B, 7.4.1C)

Source: From the CS Matters lesson “Into the Darkness: A World Without Digital Communication”

The people whose jobs are being replaced by robots are disproportionately lower-income. How can we make sure that everyone benefits from developments in artificial intelligence?

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion/brainstorm, written reflection

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.3.1: Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Specific Global Impact EKs: 7.3.1A (answers may also demonstrate 7.4.1C)

Source: From the BJC lab “Robots and Artificial Intelligence”

Brainstorm: Name some jobs that exist now, but didn't exist 25 years ago. Name some jobs that existed 25 years ago that no longer exist today (or at least mostly don't exist today). Name some jobs that don't exist today that you think might exist in 25 years.

Use For: whole-class or small-group discussion

Global Impact Learning Objectives:
7.2.1: Explain how computing has impacted innovations in other fields.
7.4.1: Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Source: From the BJC lab “Computing and Work”

Suggest a Question!

Suggested question; what it's best used for; CSP objectives and EKs (if you have them to mind)
Original source -- if it's you, please give name and institution/curriculum if you'd like to be credited!

Banner Image:Network Visualization – Orange and Pink – Pale“, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0.