NOTE: A great number of the assignments and exercises outlined in the Middle School section of this site can be applied in High School or College courses as well. Be sure to check that section for additional ideas of use in many disciplines.
Database Exercise: To practice using databases effectively, have students access the "Early '90s" internet predictions database - http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/early90s/search.xhtml - on the Imagining the Internet site and use the advanced-search function. First, ask students to experiment in finding things and familiarize themselves with this area of the site by entering different dates, media and names. Next, send them on a "scavenger hunt" to find particular items included in the database by using specific search terms and the pull-down menu. Some examples:
Predictions Survey assignment: One section of the Imagining the Internet site – Surveys http://www.elon.edu/e-web/imagining/surveys/default.xhtml – includes information gathered by Elon University's Imagining the Internet Center and the Pew Internet & American Life Project in several surveys in the early 2000s that were aimed at finding out what leading technology people, researchers and futurists expected might happen in the years ahead. The information in the "Surveys" section of the site can be used in many ways.
Typical survey questions might include:
- In the next decade, among the following – media, education, government/politics, the workplace, education, medicine, entertainment, families, communities, religion, military, international relations - which institutions and human endeavors will change the most because of the Internet? Tell us how you see the future unfolding.
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement and why: At least one devastating attack will occur in the next 10 years on the networked information infrastructure or the country's power grid.
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement and why: In 2025, it will still be the case that the vast majority of Internet users will easily be able to copy and distribute digital products freely through anonymous peer-to-peer networks.
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement and why: As computing devices become embedded in everything from clothes to appliances to cars to phones, these networked devices will allow greater surveillance by governments and businesses. By 2025, there will be increasing numbers of arrests based on this kind of surveillance by democratic governments as well as by authoritarian regimes.
- Do you agree or disagree with the following statement and why: By 2025, as telework and homeschooling expand, the boundaries between work and leisure will diminish significantly. This will sharply alter everyday family and work dynamics.
SAT preparation: To help students prepare for the writing portion of the SAT as well as to encourage thinking about the future, assign your students to study portions of the Imagining the Internet site that present information about future issues (for instance, the Early '90s section - http://www.elon.edu/e-web/predictions/early90s/search.xhtml - of the site has a list of topic categories that lead to predictions about such controversial topics as copyright, anonymity, censorship, crime, privacy, information overload, e-commerce, virtual reality and many others, and they can be found in the pull-down menus.) Next assign students to answer essay questions in a timed format similar to that of the SAT. Some issues to consider include: