The staff pick for this blog comes from John Queen, one of NICERC’s Curriculum Development Specialists.
I am a huge fan of the Cyber Society curricula because it appeals to my background in Liberal Arts. Cyber Society is designed as a series of modules based on topic specific lessons in cyber. These modules can be utilized wherever they best fit in any courses you teach, such as English/Language Arts, Civics, Free Enterprise, or even History. The specific Cyber Society lesson I want to highlight is the second Cyber Communities lesson entitled A Networked Society Provides Opportunities for Citizen Scientists. The background for this lesson is based on the idea and practice of crowdsourcing, specifically regarding things of a scientific nature.
The students are instructed to research to gain an understanding of crowdsourcing in general. Students are put into groups and given a list of projects such as contributing to a global map of nighttime light pollution, determining if laughs are real or fake, playing a game to sort photos of unidentified animals, or synthesizing RNA molecules in a game. The groups decide which project most appeals to them and share why they made that choice. After explaining their interest, the groups are asked to give the benefits and problems inherent in crowdsourcing their project. The teacher then will pick a specific project (preferably one that matches the content of their class the best) and have the groups participate in the project.
After a discussion about the specific project, the teacher leads the students in a discussion about how the internet has changed the way data is collected for study. The students explore the idea of using crowdsourcing in other areas of study. Finally, there are some resources provided that show students how gaming is currently being used to gather data in a fun and engaging way.
Be sure to check out Cyber Society and let us know how you’re using it in your classroom! More modules are being developed even now, so stay tuned for updates as we finish them. Feel free to send a message via Canvas, post to the discussion board, or email me at email@example.com. I hope you are enjoying all of our curricula and if you have not before, check out Cyber Society for some great and engaging Liberal Arts lessons that can easily be plugged into almost any class.
To gain access to this lesson along with other great lessons for middle and high school classes, click here!