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Technology and Society

Unit Summary

The Technology and Society unit can be used alone or as the final unit in a customized lesson plan using some or all of the units of The Journey InsideSM. The Technology and Society section builds but does not rely on knowledge gained in prior units—Introduction to Computers, Circuits and Switches, Digital Information, Microprocessors, and The Internet. The online lessons and videos in this unit introduce students to:

  • The idea that various inventions in the past have had a major impact on the way we live
  • The idea that a technology, such as the telephone, can continue to have an impact long after its date of introduction
  • The effect the digital age is having on the way we work and play
  • Moore's law and the accelerating rate of change

Goals and Objectives
Students will learn:

  • That new technology can introduce major changes in the lives of an entire society
  • How a technology such as the telephone can continue to evolve and affect a society
  • The impact of the microprocessor on society is only beginning
  • That digital technology has become an essential part of how we work and play
  • That the rate of change is increasing all around us

Time to Complete Online Lessons: about 40 minutes


  1. Read the background information.
  2. Review and prepare for supplemental lesson ideas and group activities.
  3. Organize materials and equipment:
  • Student computers with an active Internet connection
  • Copies of the student handouts for this unit that you plan to use


  1. Have students complete the online activities.
    Throughout the unit, facilitate the development of new vocabulary introduced in this unit.
  2. Students who are not at the computer can work on supplemental lesson ideas and group activities.
  3. After students complete the online materials, they can:
  • Discuss their answers to questions raised by the online lessons and student handouts
  • Describe in their own words the impact the computer has had on their parents' lives and their own
  • Explain what Moore's Law is and what impact it may be having on the increasing rate of change
Student Handouts

The following handouts can be used with this unit to enhance learning. Each handout is briefly described below. To see the actual handout, click the link "handout."

Inventions That Have Changed the World

This handout helps students understand the ways an invention can change people's lives and the impact inventions can have on society as a whole.

Miracle of the Microporcessor

This handout (also found in the Microprocessor section) is an essay by Michael S. Malone, author ofThe Microprocessor: A Biography. It provides a wide-ranging perspective on the importance of the microprocessor as an invention and its significance in human history.

These Are the Good Old Days

This handout is a poignant essay by Michael S. Malone, author of The Microprocessor: A Biography. In it, he discusses the changes his grandmother saw during nearly 90 years of life and how readily she adapted to them. Reading this essay, students will get a deeper appreciation of how inventions can affect each of us personally and how much change we can expect to see in a lifetime.

Making of a Silicon Chip

This handout (also found in the Microprocessor section) is an informative essay by Michael S. Malone, author of The Microprocessor: A Biography. Students get a detailed but easy-to-follow description of the simple materials and complex process by which microprocessors are manufactured.

Beyond School

This handout shows students how fast the job market is growing for technology workers and the importance of understanding technology and learning how to use it in most modern careers. Activities include observing technology in use in the world around them and beginning to consider the skills they'll need for college and careers of their own.

To Infinity and Beyond

This handout is an insightful essay on Moore's Law by Michael S. Malone, author of TheMicroprocessor: A Biography. In it, Malone explains how this law has so accurately predicted the tremendous power and performance changes we've seen in computing devices over recent years and what the law tells us about changes we may see in the future.

Chips and More Chips

This handout helps students realize the sheer number of devices around us that have some sort of chip in them. Activities include creating a collage of digital devices and designing their own digital device.

Ubiquitous Computing

This handout introduces the idea of computer pads and tabs that enable you to use and access digital information wherever you are. Activities include thinking of uses for such devices and the ramifications they could have on our lives.

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