Trolling is not new behavior, but why do people do it? And what effects does it have? Trolls tend to antagonize communities in order to amuse themselves and get attention at the expense of others. Trolling has caused some online publications and news organizations to remove comments from their sites due to the effects the comments had on readers’ perceptions of the content, as well as the costs associated with moderating the comments. In this Lowdown lesson, students will analyze the research presented about why people post mean or negative “trolling” comments, as well as evaluate how trolling has affected online communities and reflect on how it should be addressed. This lesson plan will need to be downloaded.
Learn how to keep your digital life safe, spot cyber scams, understand the basics of coding, and defend against cyberattacks with the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. Players assume the role of chief technology officer of a start-up social network company that is the target of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks. In the game, players must complete challenges to strengthen their defenses and thwart attackers. The lab also features stories of real-world cyber attacks, a glossary of cyber terms, and short animated videos that explain the need for cybersecurity; privacy versus security; cryptography (cyber codes); and what exactly hackers are. This game can be played during a lesson on cybersecurity.
Learn how encryption keeps online information private in this video from the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab. Your messages are coded by email programs and websites to prevent others from reading them. Codes have been used in messages for centuries. Caesar sent coded messages to his military in ancient Rome. In the 1940s, the Allied forces cracked the German Enigma Code, saving lives during World War II. Today, emails are protected through public-key cryptography, which uses numbers from both the sending and receiving email servers to create a key. However, not all online activity is encrypted and, in some cases, your browsing history, text messages, and data from apps can be intercepted. This video comes with discussion questions.
In this media-rich lesson plan, students explore how to keep their digital lives safe, spot cyber scams, and learn the basics of coding from NOVA Labs. The lesson begins with students watching the Cybersecurity 101 video and discussing the online safety measures that they currently take. Next, students make predictions about online safety best practices, complete the Level 1 challenges of the NOVA Cybersecurity Lab, and compare the best practices from the game with their predictions. Students reconvene for direct instruction on the best practices and key computer science terms and then finish the Cybersecurity Lab game. Finally, students complete the video quizzes with short-response discussion questions and can work on the Cybersecurity stories as homework reading assignments.
Social media is a mixed bag. Being online may increase chances of identity theft and cyberbullying, yet, it’s estimated over 20% of 8 to 12 year-olds have at least one social media account—sometimes without their parents’ knowledge. At times, tweens are taking back charge of their brand, started by their parents since they were born, and sometimes, they are looking to share and connect with a community they have trouble finding face-to-face. So, What’s the right age to start using social media? This resource includes a video and student handout with discussion questions.
If the Internet's making you feel meaner, you're not imagining it. People really do act differently online than they do in person. Here’s why. According to a paper published in 2004 by psychologist John Suler, there are about 6 main reasons people act differently online. This could explain the rise of internet trolls or why people open up more online than they would in person. A student viewing guide with discussion questions is available to be used with this video.
Even by conservative estimates, the average American spends over 6 hours per day staring at a screen. That’s a lot of time. What does the scientific research say about it? Is it good or bad for us? This video comes with a facilitator guide and student handout that helps guide the discussion of this activity.
Trolls are all over the internet, just annoying people to no end. What makes someone an internet troll? Are some people just destined to be a troll, or do they develop this ability? Believe it or not, there have been numerous scientific studies surrounding this behavior. Explore the science behind trolling behavior in the latest Above the Noise video. This video comes with a student handout that helps guide the discussion of this activity.
This lesson uses the documentary film Web Junkie as a springboard for a project-based research exercise, assigning students to investigate whether Internet addiction is a problem in their community.
The policy of net neutrality prevents internet service providers (ISPs), like Verizon and AT&T, from slowing down the loading speeds of certain websites or creating “fast lanes” for sites that pay a fee. This policy will almost certainly be overturned by the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission. This Lowdown lesson explores the pros and cons of net neutrality and examines the different ways lawmakers view internet service.
PBS's Off Book asks if hacking is inherently good or bad, or if is it an ethical area we have yet to define. Looking beyond the media hype and scare tactics, it is clear that "hacking" is a term that should be up for debate, and that some hackers could actually be heroes and not villains.
Cyber-bullying is where one or more person targets another through technology such as the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to threaten, harass, or embarrass another person. Cyber-bullying goes beyond just bullying because it can follow you home (e.g., through text or e-mail messages, blogs, social networking web site, etc.). You can stop cyber-bullying by not responding to any of it, saving the evidence, and reporting it.
Social networking sites make it incredibly easy to share your thoughts and aspects of your personality with others. But with this convenience comes the potential for saying something you might regret later. In this video segment from FRONTLINE: "Digital Nation," two groups of girls describe how an exchange of insults over MySpace resulted in a physical fight at their school. This video has discussion questions in the Support Materials section.
This lesson, to be used with Underground Railroad: The William Still Story, introduces students to the benefits of recording history. However, they also learn the dangers of sharing information publicly. Social media is explored as an effective, but a sometimes dangerous messaging tool.
In this self-paced lesson, students explore various aspects of online communication. Students watch videos that encourage them to think about their own participation in social networking and to consider how much time they think people should spend online. They also watch videos about the positive and negative aspects of online communication that real young people have experienced. Students then complete an interactive activity to show where they stand on a range of online behaviors. The lesson concludes with a final assignment in which students create a presentation of their ideas about online communication.
While some people turn to social networks and texting as an opportunity to open up and be themselves, others are looking for targets. In this video segment from FRONTLINE: "Digital Nation," learn about Ryan Halligan, the victim of a vicious cyberbullying campaign. After Ryan committed suicide, his father, John, went on Ryan's computer to search for answers. As Ryan's friends opened up online to John, he learned about the taunting that his son endured both at school and online. This video comes with discussion questions.
Facial recognition is creeping more and more into our daily lives. Facebook and Google use it for auto-tagging photos. Snapchat uses it to create hilarious filters. And Apple’s new iPhone will allow you to use your face to unlock your phone. But this same technology can be used by governments and companies to learn as much as they can about you. Find out how facial recognition technology works in the newest Above the Noise video. This video comes with a student viewing guide.
YouTube has been around for over a decade now, and it dominates as the top place for video content. Because of that, it’s way more of a business now than anyone could have imagined. The advertising world refers to many of the stars on YouTube, Instagram, and other social media platforms as influencers, because they have their own, home-grown fanbase that they have been interacting with for years. To capitalize on that fanbase, companies pay these influencers to promote their product or service. Watch the latest Above the Noise video to find out whether you can trust what's on YouTube and what are the rules about influencers advertising products in their videos. This video comes with a student handout that helps guide the discussion of this activity.
Students will learn to see smartphone apps as tools to solve real-world problems. This lesson guides students through a design brainstorm process to invent an app idea related to public art. Students will be designing an app idea to tackle a problem related to public art in their community. All you need is the activity worksheet, some pens, markers, and creativity!
WHY APPS? Well, to start with, they’re everywhere. According to the Pew Research Center, 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of those own smartphones. Teens don’t have to be limited to the role of the consumer in today’s digital marketplace. All you need is a little know-how and an idea—which is the focus of this curriculum.
Many of us are aware that we're being tracked when going online. It's one of the ways our favorite websites and apps know how to recommend content just for us. But how much information are companies actually collecting? And what are they doing with it? Digging into the details can help us make smart decisions about our online privacy and how to protect it.
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Tagging friends on social media is a great way to connect with others and capture memorable experiences. But what if they don't want to be tagged? Encourage your students to take responsibility for how they may affect the digital footprints of others.
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New tech, like location services and smart devices, helps make our lives easier and opens opportunities that didn't exist before. But these innovations also come with a cost -- especially to our privacy. Help students consider the benefits and drawbacks of these new technologies -- and decide whether they're ultimately worth it.
Social media gives us a chance to choose how we present ourselves to the world. We can snap and share a picture in the moment or carefully stage photos and select only the ones we think are best. When students reflect on these choices, they can better understand the self they are presenting and the self they aim to be.
Our digital footprints can have a powerful impact on our future. This can be a scary thought, given that what's in our digital footprint isn't always in our control. Teach students that digital footprints are an opportunity to showcase their best selves and craft a footprint that leads to future success.
What you say, and how you say it, often depends on whom you're talking to, both in-person and online. The person or people you're chatting with -- and the apps or websites you're using -- affect how we communicate. Remind your students to consider their audience before they post or comment online, and help them build community and communicate effectively in the digital world.
Research shows that happiness in life is less about what you do and more about why you do it. When your actions have purpose they lead to positive results -- both for you and the world. Help students use the power of the internet to turn their personal passions into positive impact.
In this lesson plan from Newseum, students use a video and graphics to help tune up their “fairness meters” to detect three key factors that can determine how objective or biased a news story is; then they analyze real-life examples.
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An infographic and explainer video break down some of the often-invisible ways that search engines —and people — make recommendations; then students hunt for these “search signals” to rank and evaluate real examples.
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Students will review a court case and case study to determine what is protected and what may not be.
Elonis v. the United States provides the foundation for a debate on what forms of expression on social media are and are not protected by the First Amendment — and the blurry line in-between.
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The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle “Your information is larger than you think”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student lesson is available at https://teachingprivacy.org/youre-leaving-footprints/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can enumerate ways their online and offline activities contribute to their information “footprint”; students can use privacy settings and critical thinking skills to limit the exposure of their footprint.
Target Age: High school, college undergraduate.
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle “There is no anonymity on the Internet”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/theres-no-anonymity/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can explain (in general terms) how data tracked by online services can be used to identify them; students can use tools and techniques to reduce the effectiveness of tracking.
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle “Information about you on the Internet will be used by somebody in their interest — including against you”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/information-is-valuable/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can give examples of how their data may be used to benefit others; students can investigate and evaluate how different online services use data, in order to make informed choices.
Unencrypted communication over the Internet works a lot like sending a postcard: it can be read by anybody along the delivery route. Communication is routed through intermediary computers and systems, which are connected to many more computers and systems. Encryption, or encoding information so it appears scrambled to anyone who doesn’t know the key, is a way to wrap a postcard in an envelope. While it can never be 100% secure, stronger encryption makes it harder for people to get to the contents.
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle “Communication over a network, unless strongly encrypted, is never just between two parties”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/someone-could-listen/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can articulate how the multi-step, multi-party pathways of networked communication affect users’ privacy; students can identify and use more secure communication options.
Any time you interact online, that information is recorded in the network. And, as with in-person communication, once you’ve shared something, you can’t control what happens to it — or how people will interpret it. Other people can repost or forward content to any audience without your permission, websites can sell information to other businesses, and data can be legally subpoenaed. Websites and search engines automatically pick up and duplicate content, making it impossible to “unshare” — the Internet never forgets!
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle “Sharing information over a network means you give up control over that information — forever”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/sharing-releases-control/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can enumerate ways their information may be recorded, re-shared, and reinterpreted once it is online; students can use privacy settings and imaginative self-inquiry to limit potentially harmful sharing.
Every day more data is being put online. Search engines are getting better, allowing “deeper” the searching of more types of data. Techniques for extracting and connecting information from different sources are getting more powerful. Furthermore, information that is not retrievable today may be retrievable tomorrow due to changes in terms of service, public policy, law, and technical privacy settings.
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle “Just because something can’t be found today, doesn’t mean it can’t be found tomorrow.” They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/search-is-improving/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can explain how changes in technology and regulations can affect who has access to their data; students can use techniques to monitor and limit the exposure of their data.
Your online activities and communications are as much a part of your life as your offline activities and communications; they are interconnected and can affect your life and relationships in the same way.
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle: “The online world is inseparable from the ‘real’ world”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/online-is-real/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can give examples of how online and offline activities affect each other; students can think imaginatively about the potential consequences of their posts for themselves and others.
Creating an identity on the Internet or impersonating somebody else is often just a matter of a few clicks. Currently, there is no foolproof way to match a real person with their online identity. This means that you can never be sure with whom you are communicating and that someone could steal your online identity and impersonate you!
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle: “Identity is not guaranteed on the Internet”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/identity-isnt-guaranteed/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can explain why it is difficult to be sure who one is communicating with online; students can investigate and evaluate the legitimacy of services that want their personal information.
Even if you’re not actively using the Internet, someone else may be sharing information about you — intentionally or unintentionally. So, avoiding the Internet does not guarantee privacy.
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle: “You can’t avoid having an information footprint by not going online”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/you-cant-escape/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can enumerate ways their offline activities generate data that is stored and shared online; students can communicate effectively with others about everyone’s information-sharing preferences.
Most Internet technology is not designed to protect the privacy of those who use it; in fact, most technology providers make money by leveraging your private information. “Privacy policies” are generally written to protect those providers from lawsuits, not to protect users’ privacy. Laws and regulations cover only certain aspects of privacy and vary from place to place — and enforcement is even more varied. So, like it or not, your privacy is your own responsibility and requires your constant attention.
The lesson elements in this module teach students about the privacy principle: “Only you have an interest in maintaining your privacy”. They are designed to be independent and flexible, so you can incorporate them into any size lesson plan. Student resources are available at https://teachingprivacy.org/privacy-requires-work/.
Summary of Learning Objectives: Students can articulate why technology design, laws, and business policies do not inherently protect their privacy; students have the capacity to acquire new privacy-management skills as technology and policies change.
Students explore the concept of privacy in their everyday lives, and as it relates to using the Internet. Students examine a scenario in which a research company collects information about them. They reflect on concerns they might have, and they learn about the kinds of information websites collect. They learn that sites are required to post their privacy policies and that kids should check those policies on the sites they visit.
Students will be able to:
• explore the concept of privacy in both a real-world setting and online.
• understand how and why companies collect information about visitors to their websites.
• learn and use online privacy terms.
• learn that websites are required to post privacy policies.
In this lesson, students consider and discuss the trade-offs we all make on a daily basis between maintaining our privacy and gaining access to information services. The lesson begins with a series of guided questions to help students assess their own perceptions of privacy and determine their comfort levels with giving out personal information. This is followed by a series of exercises and case studies that encourage them to delve deeper into privacy issues. As a summative activity, students produce short video essays that reflect those privacy issues they consider to be important.
This lesson is intended to introduce students to the concept of privacy rights as guaranteed in section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which provides that everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search and seizure. In light of society’s ever-increasing reliance on electronic devices to store and share personal information, this lesson will focus on privacy rights as they relate to information on cell phones, computers, and social media in a variety of contexts.
Specific Student Learning Objectives:
Students will develop an understanding of privacy rights and why a guarantee of privacy is necessary for free and democratic societies (Students will consider the question if you have nothing to hide, why should you care about privacy?).
Students will demonstrate an ability to identify and consider competing interests when determining the reasonableness of a search of private information.
Some wording may need to be altered, as some are written in formal English, not American English.
Can you imagine a world without cell phones or the Internet? Today, the average teen sends more than 1,700 texts per month. Nearly 90 percent of young Americans are connected to the Internet, and many spend hours online every day. The number of social network subscribers now exceeds the population of most countries.
It's clear that digital technology is revolutionizing the way we connect to one another, making it faster and easier than ever. This can affect not only what we say and how we say it, but also who hears the message and how they respond to it.
While this resource requires an account to save your work, it is not necessary to view resources. It is my recommendation that the questions in the lesson be used as talking points, discussion questions, journal entries, or written on paper and turned in.
Students and teachers can create a free account at Alabama Public Television / PBS Learning Media.
This website provides a case study for student evaluation, either through writing or discussion. This case study will focus on the safe use of digital devices and ethical sharing. The case study is as follows: David has just joined a Facebook group and he discovers that somebody has posted an offensive and malicious photo of a girl from his class. David feels very uncomfortable about it. What, if anything, should he do?
Students begin this lesson by investigating some of the world’s biggest data breaches to get a sense for how frequently data breaches happen within companies and organizations, and what kinds of data and information is lost or given up. Afterward, students will use the Data Privacy Lab tool to investigate just how easily they could be uniquely identified with a few seemingly innocuous pieces of information. At the conclusion of the lesson, students will research themselves online to determine just how much someone could learn about them by conducting the same searches and “connecting the dots.”
Students will be able to:- explain privacy concerns that arise through the mass collection of data.- use online search tools to find and connect information about a person or topic of interest.- explain how multiple sources of data can be combined in order to uncover new knowledge or information.- analyze the personal privacy and security concerns that arise with any use of computational systems.
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This lesson focuses on the economic and consumer concerns around apps and websites that collect and track data about you in exchange for providing you a service free of cost. Often the quality of the service itself is dependent on having access to data about many people and their behavior. The main takeaway of the lesson is that students should be more informed consumers of the technology around them. They should be able to explain some of the trade-offs between maintaining personal privacy and using innovative software free of cost.
Students learn about various types of cybercrimes and the cybersecurity measures that can help prevent them. Then students perform a Rapid Research project investigating a particular cybercrime event with a focus on the data that was lost or stolen and the concerns that arise as a result. The Rapid Research activity features vocabulary, concepts, and skills that should help prepare them for the AP Explore PT, and also serves as a capstone for the sequence of lessons on encryption and security.
Students will be able to:- explain the characteristics of a phishing attack.- explain how a DDoS attack works.- describe how one computer virus works.- research and describe a cyber attack found in the news.- reason about the threats posed by, and methods of recourse for, various types of cyber attacks.- describe plausible storage, security, or privacy concerns for particular pieces of data.
To conclude their study of big data and cryptography, students will complete a small research project related to a dilemma presented by Big Data or Cybersecurity, in the form of a Practice Performance Task. Students will pick one of two issues to research more deeply - either an issue related to big data, or one related to cybersecurity. Students will need to identify appropriate online resources to learn about the functionality, context, and impact of the technological innovation that gave rise to the dilemma they are investigating. After completing their research, students will present their findings both in a written summary and with an audio/visual artifact they found online. The written components students must complete are similar to those students will see in the AP Performance Tasks.
This project is an opportunity to practice many of the skills students will use when completing the Explore Performance Task on the AP® Exam at the end of the year. While an open-ended research project might be intimidating, students have built all the skills they need to complete this task.
Note: This is NOT the official AP® Performance Task that will be submitted as part of the Advanced Placement exam; it is a practice activity intended to prepare students for some portions of their individual performance at a later time.
Students will be able to:- identify reliable and authoritative sources of information about computing information.- synthesize information taken from multiple online sources to create a cohesive description of a computing innovation.- identify an artifact that clarifies an aspect of a computing topic not easily captured in writing.- explain both the beneficial and harmful effects related to a modern social dilemma in computing.