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Lesson Plan

Paying Attention to Technology: Reviewing a Technology

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Paying Attention to Technology: Reviewing a Technology

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Traci Gardner

Traci Gardner

Blacksburg, Virginia

Publisher

National Council of Teachers of English

 

Overview

Featured Resources

From Theory to Practice

 

OVERVIEW

This lesson plan extends the kind of analytical thinking that students do when they compose book reviews by asking them to review a particular technology—anything from a cell phone to a Webcam, or an ink pen to a satellite dish. Students analyze technology reviews to establish the characteristics of the genre. Using a list of evaluation and review questions, students profile a technology that they've read about, used themselves, or researched, in order to think about why people use the technologies that they do when they do. After their investigation, students write a review of the technology that explains not only their personal evaluation of the object but also offers recommendations on who might use the technology. Students work in small groups to review their technologies reviews and evaluate what those reviews tell them about themselves as users of technology.

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FEATURED RESOURCES

Text Analysis Chart: This handout includes a chart that can be used in close analysis of any text.

Technology Profile: This online tool uses questions to guide students in profiling a technology.

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FROM THEORY TO PRACTICE

In her 1999 Technology and Literacy in the Twenty-First Century, Cynthia L. Selfe urges that educators "must try to understand-to pay attention to-how technology is now inextricably linked to literacy and literacy education in this country; and second, we must help colleagues, students, administrators, politicians, and other Americans gain some increasingly critical and productive perspective on technological literacy" (24). Just learning to use a piece of software or new digital gizmo is not enough. We need to explore technological literacy, which Selfe defines as "a complex set of socially and culturally situated values, practices, and skills involved in operating linguistically within the context of electronic environments, including reading, writing, and communicating" (11). In other words, our classroom activities need to consider not just how to use technology but also to pay attention to why we use the technologies we do when we do. This lesson asks students to pay attention to technology, as well as think critically, by writing a review of a technology they use.

Further Reading

Selfe, Cynthia L. 1999. Technology and Literacy in the Twenty-First Century: The Importance of Paying Attention. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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