10. Technology Advances, Social Trends

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Technology is changing the society in which we live. There are many new and exciting innovations introduced each year to benefit the people of the world.

Learning outcomes

  • learn about work in progress and how it could impact the lives of millions
  • understand the importance of innovation and creative thinking
  • identify areas where technology is advancing
  • imagine technologies for future Tech Awards


  • innovation, technology advancement, smart materials, nano-technology, social media, smart...

Study notes

  • What are some of the new and exciting benefits that technology is bringing to society?
  • Is there a limit to the innovation in technology to benefit society?
  • Do we each have a role to play in ensuring that technology is used for good?
  • Are you aware of applications of technology that are causing serious problems? What is being done about these? How can you help?
  • What would be a great candidate for a future Tech Award?


  1. Before you start the reading and the assignments, take a few minutes to think about what you already know about the topic - Technology Advances, Social Trends . Write a sentence or two about this in the I know... discussion.

  2. Read the Study notes for an overview for the topics that will be covered.

  3. Read, view, listen to several selections in the Media list.

  4. This week we are going to be looking at the future of computers and society. From the selected media, or search the web to find a resource that suggests different outcomes or directions for computers and society. This could include anything from education and work to wearable computers. Find ONE (1) that you think is particularly interesting. Write 2-3 paragraphs about the social issues discussed and why these are important.
    Please provide a detailed analysis of the topic you select. What are the important points made? Is the author providing a balanced representation of the facts? Are the conclusions reasonable? Support your argument with examples. This should be in your own words. What do you think is important? What do you expect will result from the interactions between technology and society? Will it be good or bad? What do you hope will be the outcome? Post the web address of the resource selected, a description and your analysis in the Future of Computers discussion topic.
    Review and comment on 3 others. What questions does this raise? Provide another viewpoint or add additional information. Your responses should be 2-3 sentences.

  5. More than just the facts - Find some interesting data related to technology and society. Why are these numbers interesting? Are they changing over time? How does this relate to the course? How is the quantitative information represented - text, chart, infographic? Does the presentation help make the message clearer? How might the data be misinterpreted? Post your facts, a link to the source, and your analysis to the Interesting Quantitative Facts discussion. Review and comment on 2 others.

  6. View the video Future of Technology (Apr 7, 2009). The video is old but well done. There are lots of facts and figures, so we would better understand what is happening with technology. But what is the "big picture" message they are trying to make? What are some questions that you have that will be statistics in the future? Post a comment about what you see as the main message, and a discussion question to the Future considerations discussion forum. Read 2-3 other reviews and comment on their evaluations.

  7. The Tech Awards honors individuals, non-profit organizations and for-profit companies who are using technology to significantly improve human conditions in 6 awards categories. The technology used can be either a new invention or an innovative use of an existing technology. Read through the information about the awards and recent winners and honorees. Of these, which one do you think will be viewed as making a significant impact for the greatest number of people? Why will that be the case? Post a link to the honoree or award winner and your reasons for making your selection to the discussion Tech Awards with social impact.

  8. Select one of the discussion topics from any discussion in previous modules (modules 1-9). Read through the posts. In your own words, write a short summary of the important ideas discussed. Now that you have read the whole discussion, what questions do you have about the topic that were not answered? Try to give the reader one or two important points that are made in the discussion. Was there something new and interesting that came up in the discussion? Post your 2-3 sentence summary to Discussion Summaries discussion.

  9. Have you seen some new and exciting technology that we haven't talked about? Looking to technology today and beyond, there are new applications, new software tools and new directions in information technology. Select a web site that is an example of where we are going. Is there some new application that you and your friends have just started using? Is there new software that has been in the news as the hot new thing? Are there uses of technology that you would like to see? How will this have a big impact our lives and our use of technology? Post a link to the site and describe your selection in the What's new and important? discussion forum.

  10. Review Collaboration and Group Projects and complete the Group Project preparation Quiz.

  11. Group Project - The "group project" is part individual work, followed by collaborative work. Start working on the Group Project work. These are informal groups. Usually 4-5 people is best. You can decide who you want to work with. Your grade will be based on your participation.
    * Read the Group Project assignment information.
    * Start organizing your individual work. On your own Wikieducator user page, add your links and descriptions.
    * Find your group's section on the group page and add a link to your individual work on your Wikieducator user page.
    * Also post your project choice in the Project Group discussion.
    The Group Project is only one module but there is a lot of work to do. And you are working with several other people. This takes extra time and cooperation. Start NOW.

  12. Throughout the quarter, watch for news items about computers and society. For extra credit, post a link and a note about why you think that this news item is applicable to this class to the information to the X. News Item discussion.

  13. I wonder... revisited - Revisit your previous I wonder... assignments. Pick one topic that you want to research a bit more. Find at least one additional source of information that addresses your questions. Summarize you findings and post it along with the link to I wonder revisited discussion.
    ALSO submit to I wonder... assignment.

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