How can new technologies affect our identities and relationships? (MYP 2)

In their current unit, MYP 2 students are investigating how new technologies can affect our identities and relationships. Throughout the unit, students will (1) find out about some of the major technological breakthroughs from history, (2) explore how modern technologies such as the television, computers, and cell phones have affected our identities and relationships with others, (3) explore the ways that technology can be used for social good and (4) engage in a research project to further investigate this topic.

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The assessment task for this unit is a research project. Although MYP 2 students have done several research projects across this school year, this is the first project they’re doing in which they must (1) formulate their own research question, rather than having the teacher provide them with one, and (2) justify the choice of their research questions (i.e., why is the question relevant/ important to investigate?).

It is often difficult for students to formulate their own research questions; for this reason, the students were provided with the following research question structure:

How has X affected Y?

This is a typical form of research question in which the researcher is investigating the relationships between two distinct variables (variable X and variable Y). For this project, variable X must be some aspect of technology, and variable Y must be some aspect of identity or relationships. For example, variable X could be social media usage (an aspect of technology) and variable Y could be mood (an aspect of personal identity).

Students are encouraged to formulate a research question that is important and relevant to society, as well as personally interesting to them. To answer their research question, the students are making surveys and will have to administer the survey to at least 20 participants. It is not always easy to find 20 willing participants so this part will require significant initiative and organization from the MYP 2 students. After they have collected their data, the students will present their research findings to the class.

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Benefits of having these types of student-led research projects include:

  • Promoting a deeper understanding of content
  • Making learning more engaging and rewarding
  • Boosting intrinsic motivation
  • Building initiative and self-direction
  • Practicing presentation skills
  • Better understanding of the scientific method and other scientific principles

I’m looking forward to seeing how the MYP 2 students’ investigations turn out. The students have already begun to formulate some interesting research questions. Next month I will post a follow up blog post with some of the results from their investigations!

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