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1 Is there such a thing as being too technological?

An imaginary pull-out class of 14 identified gifted and talented fifth grade students meets once per week, and this particular lesson for the group has an allotted time slot of one hour. The students were asked the previous week to read the two articles listed for this lesson. They were provided sticky notes to jot down any questions or comments they had about the articles. Standards: SS5H9 The student will trace important developments in America since 1975. b. Explain the impact the development of the personal computer and the Internet has had on American life. ELACC5SL1 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 5 topics and texts, building on others ideas and expressing their own clearly. a. Come to discussions prepared, having read or studied required material; explicitly draw on that preparation and other information known about the topic to explore ideas under discussion. b. Follow agreed-upon rules for discussions and carry out assigned roles. c. Pose and respond to specific questions by making comments that contribute to the discussion and elaborate on the remarks of others. d. Review the key ideas expressed and draw conclusions in light of information and knowledge gained from the discussions. Essential Questions: How is advancing technology shaping us (children) in todays society? How can we effectively communicate about the impact of technology on our lives? Materials: SMART Board Article, Technology essential to childrens success, professor says Article, How technology is changing the way children think and focus Sticky notes Materials for individual reflection (pencils, paper, computers, art materials, etc.) Chairs arranged in a circle Introduction (10 minutes): The teacher begins the lesson by asking students, as a class, to brainstorm and list all the types of technology they encounter on a regular basis (laptop, iPad, iPod, cell phone, Internet, SMART Board, etc.). The students will list the items on the SMART Board, being careful not to repeat what another has already written. The class will reflect upon the surely vast collection of technology, and the teacher will ask students to recall the two articles they were asked to read for this week. The teacher and students will briefly discuss the main idea of each article to ensure understanding (one of which argues that technology supports childrens success, and the other which argues that technology may actually impede upon childrens development), as well as the overarching common theme between the two (the modern impact of technology on children). Students will have an opportunity to ask questions that relate

2 only to understanding the main idea of the article or specific vocabulary words that could impair understanding. Other questions can be discussed in the Socratic seminar to follow. Work Session (30 minutes): Once the teacher has formatively assessed that the students understand the gist of the articles, she will inform students that they will be participating in a Socratic seminar. While they have engaged in one previously, she and the students will review the process, expectations, and roles everyone follows. The teacher will introduce the question and interject only with relevant follow-up questions (see below) or pieces of clarification as necessary or to engage a student who has not yet spoken, while the students will take control of the discussion. They will all participate in the discussion, refer to their articles and sticky notes to support their claims and arguments, ask questions as necessary, listen while others speak, and refrain from raising their hands when they want to speak but rather start talking in the natural flow of the discussion. All participants will be courteous and respectful to one another and recognize that there is no single correct answer to the main question. After the class has discussed and agreed upon the expectations (such as by making a list or chart), the teacher will pose the following open-ended question: Is technology harmful or beneficial to children (you)? Students will be given 25 minutes to engage in discussion. As necessary, the teacher will pose questions such as the following (students are also encouraged to ask questions like these): Why do you say that? How can you verify or disprove that assumption? What would be an example? What is another way to look at it? What is a counterargument? How doestie in with the article? What doesmean? How did you reach that conclusion? What do you think of? At the end of 25 minutes, the teacher will allow the final student(s) to finish their thoughts and bring the discussion to a close. Closing (20 minutes): Students will be given fifteen minutes of independent thinking and reflecting time regarding what happened in the Socratic seminar. They will be asked to consider the following questions: What was the main idea we were dealing with? What were the main viewpoints toward the topic? Why should we discuss a topic like this? How did the discussion impact you or affect your opinions? Did your opinions change from before the Socratic seminar? What is your opinion on how our discussion went in the Socratic seminar? Would you want to participate in another Socratic seminar?

3 Students will create some sort of product to express their reflections, whether through a written narrative; a created piece of art, song, or poem; or other form that must be approved by the teacher. During the remaining five minutes in class, students may share their thoughts and opinions regarding the topic of the Socratic seminar and the actual Socratic seminar process with the whole class. The teacher will close by giving any additional feedback or insights she gathered from the discussion. Differentiation: The content (the two provided articles) and the process (the Socratic seminar discussion) will remain the same for all students, as these both promote higher order thinking skills and present an advanced learning opportunity for all the gifted students. The nature of this type of learning activity requires that the students have read the same material and participate in the same discussion. The reflective product, however, is open-ended and allows students to choose what means they would prefer to share their reflections and what they learned. Students can choose their product option based upon their skills and/or their preferences. Additionally, those for whom the teacher projected may have some difficulty in reading and/or understanding the advanced-written articles were given additional support in the form of a list of potentially challenging key vocabulary terms from the articles with definitions. (All students had the option of receiving the list of terms and definitions.) Assessment: A checklist (see attached) will be used to assess appropriate student participation; analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of ideas and the content from the articles, as evidenced through questions and comments in the discussion; effective oral communication skills; and relevance of and learning demonstrated through the individual reflection, regardless of what product option was chosen. Background Information on Students: The students come from a largely middle class background, and many have spoken of either having or frequently using technology outside of school. The class consists of 6 White, 6 African American, and 2 Hispanic students. All are proficient in English, and all read at or above grade level. While the class meets only weekly, the community of learners has been built around trust and communication. Group activities and discussions are regular, so the students are comfortable sharing their thoughts with each other. Discussion: Through this lesson, I am using a Socratic seminar to highlight the strategies of analytical and critical thinking skills. According to Karnes and Bean (2009), curriculum for gifted students must be differentiated because gifted students have an exceptional capacity to perceive information and use it productively (p. 261). Instructing gifted students on thinking processes helps them develop their aptitude for advanced cognition into strong abilities, which will help them realize success in their specific areas of talent and fields of pursuit both presently and later in life. This must be explicitly emphasized in gifted programming because analytical and critical thinking is more complex and intellectually challenging than our curricula currently articulate (Karnes & Bean, 2009, p. 266). A Socratic seminar is a useful tool for adding depth to the current curricula and encouraging the practice of analytical and critical thinking skills because it prompts students to think for themselves, rather than merely accepting right answers. Socratic seminars expect students to evaluate previously read material and synthesize ideas and understandings in a collaborative and non-threatening group context. Evaluation and

4 synthesis are two categories of Blooms taxonomy that are not commonly addressed to Blooms originally intended rigor (Karnes & Bean, 2009, p. 262), but an appropriately facilitated Socratic seminar, such as that in this lesson, presents instruction that does, indeed, promote deep levels of understanding and high levels of abstract reasoning. Also, I am not specifically addressing technology skills training, but the topic of the lesson addresses the integration of technology in our world and ethics concerning the use of and reliance of technology, which are relevant considerations for training anyone, particularly gifted students, in using 21st century technology skills.

5 Checklist Assessment
Tally of every instance of appropriate participation (question or comment) Evidence of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of ideas and content from articles?


Effective oral communication skills?

Relevant individual reflection? (List product type)

Learning demonstrated in individual reflection?















Resources Karnes, F. A. & Bean, S. M. (Eds.). (2009). Methods and materials for teaching the gifted (3rd ed.). Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Massey University (2013, January 16). Technology essential to childrens success, professor says. Retrieved from Taylor, J. (2012, December 4). How technology is changing the way children think and focus. Psychology Today. Retrieved from