Tips for Using Computing News in the Classroom

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    Why Use News?

    Highlights from the news make a great attention-grabber at the beginning of class, and provide handy concrete examples for thinking about the global impacts of computing.

    Tips and Options for Using Computing News in Class

    • Present a current news story about a computing innovation (including a video if there is one), then ask the students what they think about it, what computer science concepts are involved, and what the positive and negative implications are.
    • Once you’ve modeled the process several times, you can ask students to bring stories to the group.
    • Can be used as a five-minute bellringer every day, or save news for Fridays and give it more time.
    • If the discussion is going well, let it continue!
    • It can be easy — maybe a little too easy — to highlight the positive elements of a new innovation (especially when news stories are based on press releases!). So it’s important for students to see the negative (often unintended) implications as well — and to put some thought into how potential negative consequences could be prevented or mitigated.

    Looking for More?

    Check out the archive from the TGI “News to Use” feed, which has extras like suggested discussion questions and tags for CSP framework points. You can also find links to other good sources of computing news.

    Discussion Questions, You Say?

    Here’s some general types of questions we suggest for an extended discussion:

    • How does this story relate to your (the students’) experiences?
    • What impact does this innovation have on society/the world?
    • How does this demonstrate X principle? (Where X may be a CSP framework point.)
    • Could this have been done without computers/the Internet? (Compare with other methods.)
    • What’s the potential positive impact/why are the innovators doing this?
    • Are there any drawbacks, limitations, or potential negative impacts?
    • What can be done to mitigate or prevent negative impacts?
    • What assumptions are the researchers/developers/authors making that might affect the results?
    • Who will have access to this innovation, and who won’t?
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