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8. What are its costs & benefits?

9. How do we evaluate it?




5. How does it change?

6. How does it change us?

7. How do we change it?




1. What is it?

2. Why do we use it?

3. Where does it come from?

4. How does it work?


 0. Introduction


0. Introduction   The nine essential questions on Identity, Change, and Evaluation we call ICE-9 can be applied to any technology, including ICE-9.  We apply the tool to itself on this page.  See how students have applied it to Legostm, soccer, and missiles.  Watch an interview with a parent.
1. What is it?   "It" is a flexible curriculum of nine essential questions for understanding and evaluating technology.  Beyond that, it is also a general approach to critical analysis, so we use it on this webpage to understand and evaluate itself.  The nine questions group into Identity, Change, and Evaluation (see the color pyramid above), so we call it ICE-9.
2. Why do we use it? Middle school classrooms use ICE-9 to think critically about technology, though they can use it as a general approach to critical analysis.  They also use it as a structure for independent and team projects (for example, soccer technology or Legos).  Schools use it to teach about all technology, not just computers (and, unlike computers, they don't have to upgrade ICE-9 every few years).
3. Where does it come from?   ICE-9 was developed by KnowledgeContext, an educational nonprofit corporation based just south of California's Silicon Valley.  In a way, ICE-9 came from technology's ever accelerating rate of change and ever increasing impact on all of us.  When technology was a simple wheel, it did not change over many generations and knowing little more than how to operate it was sufficient.  At the dawn of the 21st century, we also need to understand and evaluate technology.  See a concept map or read about it.
4. How does it work?   ICE-9 is a framework of nine essential questions.  In our curriculum, each question becomes a classroom lesson, with teacher and student handouts, hook stories, activities, and guided reflection.  In our book, each question becomes a chapter, probing for answers in technology's history and possible futures.  Read a student interview with the author of the book.  The curriculum can be downloaded and printed from this website and used in middle school classrooms.
5. How does it change?   ICE-9's nine essential questions could have been asked 1000 years ago and may be asked 100 years from now.  The ways we answer these timeless questions may be nearly as enduring, but we will continue to find new answers. And the ICE-9 framework will continue to flexibly accommodate them.
6. How does it change us?   ICE-9 teaches us how to ask good questions, how to critically analyze almost anything, how to understand technology, and how to evaluate it.  We are changed because our perspective is changed.  No longer do we "miss the forest for the trees" by standing so close to technology that it is seen only a computer or a cellular phone to be used.  By stepping back and seeing technology in its greater context, we can decide when it serves us and when it does not.  Watch video of a student evaluating "missile" technology.
7. How do we change it?   We change ICE-9 in two ways.  First, we spread it, showing others how important it is to think critically about technology.  Getting the curriculum into more schools provides the ICE-9 tool to more students (click to see how you can help).  And, second, we (teachers, students, concerned citizens, and KnowledgeContext) improve the curriculum with hook stories and activities suitable for other age groups, or with alternate activities.
8. What are its costs & benefits?   ICE-9 benefits students by showing how to understand and evaluate technology, giving a general approach to critical analysis, providing a cross-disciplinary thread through core content areas, providing structure for independent research projects, and demonstrating how to ask good questions. ICE-9 benefits teachers by showing how their own education and broad experience form a context for technology, allowing them to teach technology whether or not they are technical experts.  The ICE-9 curriculum costs nothing to download and use in a classroom.  See more benefits.
9. How do we evaluate it?   The ICE-9 curriculum includes a before and after assessment of how students are able to critically evaluate a technology.  Beyond its individual impact, we evaluate ICE-9 on how many people it reaches, trusting that the more valuable it is to people, the more likely they will share it with friends, family, and teachers.  Watch video clips of students commenting on the curriculum.


 2010 KnowledgeContext


Teaching Young People to Think About Technology