This year I am teaching the two year IB Diploma course Information Technology in a Global Society (ITGS). One of my goals for my class is to incorporate a bit of history about IT into the class. However, the main focus of the class is hands on IT projects, and social ethical considerations/conflicts. Although I find the history to be super important–and very interesting–it is not the direct material they will be tested on, therefore I don’t want to assign a lot of extraneous history reading for them.
When Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaccson’s history of the IT industry, The Innovators, was published this fall. I got super excited about incorporating it into my class. However I then realized I really didn’t have time, without overloading the students or ignoring important projects/topics. The I hit upon an idea. Instead of having the whole class read the book, I would just have each student be responsible for one chapter to present to the class. I thought this would be a good way for them to practice reading complex texts for relevant information, as well as their presentation skills.
I decided to model this first for them so I took Chapter 1, Ada Lovelace. The prezi I presented is published above. Or alternatively you can visit the alwaysing interesting Brain Pickings has this wonderful write up of the chapter here. As I am wont to do, I spent a little more time explaining the background of the time period–The Romantics, Luddites, Adam Smith’s Pin Factory, etc.–then I expect my students. They only have to cover their respective chapters and I will help with any background. I am very much looking forward to seeing their work and will post their presentations as they are completed.