English Language Arts
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
High School
  • Digital Devices
  • Grade 11 ELA
  • Psychology
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial

    Technology and Culture

    Technology and Culture


    Lesson Overview

    In this lesson, you will learn about the Unit Accomplishments: an argument essay and a museum exhibit, both based on your personal understanding of technology's role in shaping our culture and the way we connect to each other.

    In this lesson, students will learn about the Unit Accomplishments: an argument essay and a museum exhibit, both based on their personal understanding of technology's role in shaping our culture and the way we connect to each other.


    • Read the lesson and student content.
    • Anticipate student difficulties and identify the differentiation options you will choose for working with your students.
    • Find the article “Antisocial Networking?” by Hilary Stout on the New York Times website. Share it with your students. If you do not have Internet access in the classroom, print and distribute copies.
    • Consider what adaptations you want to make to the Unit Accomplishments so you can make those clear when you introduce them to the students. Decide how much of the material you want to present in a lecture and how much time you want to give students to work independently with the Unit Accomplishment documents.
    • Develop sample annotations for at least one section of “Antisocial Networking?” to share with your students as you model the process of annotating.
    • Create reading groups for Task 2.

    Intro to Unit Accomplishments

    • Outline the Unit Accomplishments for your class.
    • Make any adaptations or additional requirements clear at this time.
    • The most important thing for students to understand at this stage is that they need to work each day to further develop their ideas on what it means to be connected to people and information—particularly the difference between what their generation does and what other generations have done.
    • Give students a chance to ask questions and get answers from you.
    • Later in this episode, students begin creating physical museum exhibits that, if possible, incorporate digital technology. If feasible, they could use their tablet computers to showcase some artifacts; external apps such as Prezi and Corkulous as well as built-in tablet features such as Photos could be helpful resources. You might also consider ways your students could view a physical museum exhibit to develop a sense of what an in-person exhibit looks like. Give yourself enough lead time to gather any needed resources.
    • Depending on your preferences and resources, have students cut and paste their Unit Accomplishment notes into a separate document.
      • ELL: Be sure to check for understanding with your ELLs at this point and clear up any questions or misconceptions so that they are clear on what their goals are for the unit. Consider giving students assignments well in advance if they will benefit from extra time to research and read.


    Below are the projects you will complete for your Unit Accomplishments. Yay

    1. You will write an argument essay where you develop a claim about current culture as it has been influenced by digital connectivity.

    2. You will also participate in a group project to create a museum exhibit that captures your unique place, time, and relationship to technology. Just as you might visit a museum exhibit to learn about cultures that are foreign to you because they’re from a different time or place, someone could visit your exhibit to learn about your unique time and place in history. Your exhibit will acknowledge the different arguments each team member crafted during the essay process of the unit and then use these perspectives to synthesize one cohesive visual argument together.

    • Keep considering this question as you think about the Unit Accomplishments: what unique culture has technology produced in your generation?
    • Create a document to compile notes for the Unit Accomplishments. As you work through the lessons in this unit, add any notes that could be helpful into this document.

    Open Notebook

    Then share any questions you have about the essay or the museum exhibit.

    Antisocial Networking?

    • Read the beginning of this text aloud, stopping to demonstrate the process of annotating for argument and evidence. Read at least through “Andy Wilson, the 11-year-old boy involved in the banter above, has 418 Facebook friends” and model the annotation process. Read and model more if you feel it is appropriate for your students.
    • The annotation process can include identifying key moments of evidence, asking thoughtful questions, making connections, noting new vocabulary, and offering analysis.
      • SWD: This is another opportunity to monitor the ability of students to annotate. They may not be able to implement self-monitoring strategies such as identifying difficult vocabulary and creating meaningful questions. If you have students who struggle with annotating, you can remind them to refer to the Guiding Questions to ensure deep and meaningful thinking.
    • Circulate and support students as they annotate the article themselves.
    • Put students in reading groups for this task.
      • ELL: Be aware of your ELLs as you create these reading groups and provide support for them within their groups as needed. You can choose to form groups of mixed ability, or you can provide support to those students who most need it by leading a group yourself.
    • You could stop the groups and let them compare the annotations they’ve made so far.
    • You could develop and model your own annotations if you think your class needs the extra support.

    Work Time

    In “Antisocial Networking?” Hilary Stout raises some concerns about the ways pre-teens and teens interact through contemporary technology. She theorizes that these types of interactions might prevent students from developing crucial skills in face-to-face interactions.

    Listen to your teacher read a section of this text and demonstrate the kinds of annotations you’ll need to do on this article and several others over the course of developing your Unit Accomplishments.

    Working with your teacher-assigned reading group, annotate your copy of the article, stopping every few minutes to check in and share notes. Here are some key annotations:

    • In your own words, identify Stout’s argument in the paragraph that begins, “Children actually used to talk to their friends.”
    • What evidence does Stout use to support her argument in the paragraph that begins, “Last week, the Pew Research Center found...”?
    • Note examples of the author’s evidence and write about how convincing you think it is.
    • Note a key sentence that sums up one of the author’s important claims and write a note on why you agree or disagree with it.
    • Do you think Stout is right in her assessment of the potential dangers of using short messages to communicate?

    Open Notebook

    Argument Quick Write

    • Review students' ideas so you can assess their understanding of the argument essay assignment and their comprehension of the material so far.


    Jot down some ideas for your argument essay. Focus on these questions:

    • What do you think your point will be?
    • What are the most interesting ideas to you so far?
    • What evidence from “Antisocial Networking?” and “Are you a Digital Native?” do you find most compelling?
    • What else will you need to investigate in order to make a persuasive and well-developed argument?

    Open Notebook

    Submit your writing to your teacher.

    Remember to compile any notes that could be helpful for your essay and exhibit into the document you created in Task 1.

    Native and Immigrant Comparison

    • This exercise is designed to have students look back at textual evidence and to develop their own reactions. The reactions can be a little broad at this point, since students are just sharpening their skills at using evidence. Check students' writing to ascertain whether they are grasping the idea of choosing a quotation that is relevant to an assigned topic. Identify students who struggle with this skill so you can give them one-on-one attention during the individual work time in the next lessons.
      • SWD: For students who need extra support, you can identify a small section to focus on that has evidence they can use. Direct them to highlight the evidence, then identify the status (immigrant or native) that the evidence represents.


    We are all natives to at least one place and perspective, which means we are all immigrants to many other places and perspectives. Understanding a Digital Immigrant’s experience is crucial to understanding your audience’s perspective for both parts of your project.

    Think about your own experiences with technology and compare them to the main ideas you identified in “Are you a Digital Native?” and “Antisocial Networking?”

    • Choose a quotation from either “Are you a Digital Native?” or “Antisocial Networking?” that explains the experience of a Digital Native or a Digital Immigrant and write a few sentences in reaction to that quotation:
      • Do you agree or disagree with the author?
      • Why or why not?
      • What evidence might you look for in order to support your ideas?
    • When you finish, choose two more quotations and write about your reactions to them before the next lesson.

    Open Notebook