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ICE-9 benefits students by...

Student running Mystery Boxes simulation

7th grade student runs Mystery Box simulation to see how layers of technology create and hide complexity.



Showing them that they have always used technology (from a light switch to a bicycle) and they can pursue many areas of study (business, politics, art, teaching, etc.) that will allow them to change the technology in our world.


Helping them reflect on their own values to understand how they evaluate technology and how they make the choices that depend on it.


Teaching how to understand and evaluate any technology.  The patterns ICE-9 reveals apply to many, if not all, technologies.  These patterns provide a context in which to understand any technology, which is a foundation for evaluating it.

Giving a general approach to critical analysis.  The nine essential questions that comprise ICE-9 can be applied beyond technology.  Students learn how to think critically (analyzing facts, weighing costs & benefits, etc.) about anything.

Stimulating interest in core content areas.  Technology threads through disciplines of history, science, math, and English - language arts.  Connecting these areas to technology may stimulate interest in these areas and encourage study and higher performance.

Structuring independent research projects.  Project-based learning is meaningful and motivating, as is independent research.  ICE-9 provides a structure of nine questions for projects investigating technology and how it connects to topical issues (e.g. causing or fixing problems in the community).

Demonstrating how to ask good questions.  There are many facts to learn in school, but new information is being created faster than anyone can keep up, so an enduring benefit of education is to teach how to ask good questions.  These will help to uncover the relevant facts anywhere and anytime.

Allowing English language learners to demonstrate conceptual understanding.  Many of the activities go beyond language (as well as culture), so those students just learning English have opportunities to learn from a direct interaction with technologies and to demonstrate that learning with design, illustration, and performance.  Ever since stone tools, the technologies we have used and our relationship to them have transcended language.



ICE-9 benefits teachers by...

The curriculum works in my classroom! It crosses the Digital Divide to get all my students thinking about the nature of technology. By the time we finish, they've got a tool for understanding and evaluating technology. Don't you wish you had learned that in school?


Showing how their education and broad experience form a context for technology.  This allows them to teach technology whether or not they are technical experts.  Sure, it would be nice for every teacher to hold degrees in computer engineering, biotechnology, and rocket science (in addition to their core area), but even if it were possible, every day creates more new technical facts than any one person can keep up with.  "Technical competence" is possible only within narrow fields.  The genetic engineer making fish glow in the dark is not also repairing her own car, designing a communications satellite, and rewriting her computer's operating system.

So what can teachers give their students?  Whether a teacher is "technical" or not, he or she has something no child has: perspective.  The subjects that the teacher studied in college provide context for technology.  The teacher has seen technology change and may have noticed how that has changed how we all work, learn, play, and live.  That is valuable.  And that is a foundation on which to build, using the ICE-9 curriculum to show young people (who were born into a world of modern technology) how they relate to it...and how it relates to them.

With ICE-9, teachers can give their students the priceless skill of understanding and evaluating any technology.  And that won't fade into obsolescence with all the technical details that, for today, are current.



ICE-9 benefits schools by...   Letting them teach technology without constantly upgrading their computer hardware.  Unless the school has limitless funds, computers and other technology will eventually become outdated.  It's still useful, but not a good representation for a school that calls itself a "technology magnet" or that prides itself on teaching skills for a technological future.  ICE-9 teaches skills applicable to the latest technologies, with the regular upgrade cost measured not in dollars, but in time spent critically thinking.


 2010 KnowledgeContext


Teaching Young People to Think About Technology