Impact of Technology

ADST - Grade 10

This unit of inquiry is not a recipe book but rather a launchpad to inspire new BIG IDEAS. We encourage you to use and/or modify one, or several of the BIG IDEAS below. Adapt it to the grade/ ability level of your students.


Enduring Understandings

The impact of technology on society is deep; both positive and negative.


Guiding Questions

How has technology changed how humans learn and experience a world without borders?


Mind Opening

Choose or devise practices to encourage students to be open to new experiences and ways of thinking in your classroom. For example, the MindUP in-school program.


Discovery and Inspiration:

Launch the Project

Introduce the Theme: Present the Enduring Understanding and Guiding Questions using vocabulary that is appropriate for your grade level.

About Vancouver Biennale: Play a short video.

Create Project Space: Brainstorm ideas to make the project theme visual and visible using bulletin boards, and/or a project corner to share relevant materials and inquiry questions and processes.

Reference Resources:

  Introduction to Sculpture and Public Art Unit Plan for information on how art has evolved over time and the unique experience sculptures and/or public art brings

Vancouver Biennale 2014-2016 Exhibition Theme: Open Borders / Crossroads Vancouver

•  The Meeting (Wang Shugang, China)

•  About Artist and Artwork (PDF)


Learning to Learn:

Art Inquiry

Make a visit to The Meeting and encourage students to freely explore and interact with the art pieces individually and in groups. This Art Inquiry process enables the students to practice observing, describing, interpreting, and sharing visual information and personal experiences. Use the Art Inquiry Worksheet (PDF) to guide and capture their ideas and impressions. Customize or create your own Art Inquiry Worksheet as appropriate for your project and class needs.


Share Insights

• Sharing Art Inquiry Experience: Ask students to share the Art Inquiry Worksheet responses in class.

• Artist Themes – Research: In small groups students rotate between information stations detailing the artist’s life and work. Station topics include: (1) education and training; (2) lifetime of artwork; (2) materials and processes; (3) beliefs and values. At each station, students answer questions and complete a task. For example, at the station “life’s work” students might plot the artist’s various installations on a map of the world.

• Artist Themes – Human Communication: Noting the space and placement of the figures in The Meeting, facilitate a discussion on how the use of modern technology changes various aspects of human communication  – distance/timezone, style, space, placement, frequency, tools. How has technology affected human communication across borders? Have students work individually to list the impacts of technology in the classroom and share their ideas with the class.

• A Definition of Technology: Have students go around the classroom and list every item in the room they consider ‘technology.’ Once students return back to their seats, ask students what is their definition of the word technology and their understanding of the word. Discuss how they choose the items on the list and apply the definition to decide whether they belong to the list.


Inquiry Challenges

Technology and Learning: Has technology helped the education system deepen the learning processes for students or teachers? Have students discuss instances where technology was deployed to break down borders within classroom, within the school, between schools or countries (think about sharing of information or experience). Brainstorm ideas how to use technology to break down borders and how could that improve the learning process and outcome.

Have students suggest new technologies to be introduced in the classrooms. How would that enhance the learning process or deepen understanding? How do you use technology outside of school and at home? Are there instances where technology breaks down borders at home?

• Research: Have students choose any ‘technology’ on the classroom list and identify what it has replaced (e.g. tablet replaces ballpoint pen and paper, typewriter, computer, data file system; cell phone replaces land phone, letters, camera, day timer, portable music, photo album, watch). Compare the older and newer technology in terms of learning process. Now expand on the idea of the ‘borderless classroom’ and project what borders (physical, space, time, psychological, communications…) technology could break down in the classroom. How could one of these changes be implemented in order to aid learning? What negative effects (learning, environment, time, distraction) does this advance in technology bring?


Student Creations and Taking Action

Have students further their inquiry on the meaning of technology, select a technological device in the classroom to research how it is and can be used in classroom. Choose an appropriate technological device to create a presentation on research finding to class.

Ask the students to reflect on how they use devices like cell phones, tablet or laptop in class. Are they used for educational purposes only or for social networking? Take action to change their habit to use technology to enhance learning and not to get distracted from learning in classroom.



• Teacher and students can reflect on their entire learning process by revisiting the Enduring Understanding and relevant Guiding Questions.

• How did the unit of study open inquiry, create cross–curricular learning opportunities and/or apply learning to real life situations? Has this unit of inquiry changed your opinions, values and world view? In what ways, if any, has it helped you grow as a learner?


Ideas for Cross-Curricular Access

• Arts Education: How has technology changed the art creative process? Discuss the evolution of visual art pieces from oil on canvas to photography to videography and how digital media is replacing physical stage setups for performances. Have students create an interdisciplinary artistic expression using digital technology to break down borders of artistic discipline.

• History: Have students find the top two technology breakthroughs in the time period being studied that impacted society at that time. Research and find out the background of the inventor, the invention process and its impact. Present these findings on a poster in class.

• Mathematics: How has math changed technology and technology changed math? Examine the role of mathematics in developing the technologies we currently use. Examine the use of technology to further the study of mathematics (the use of computers to find large primes, to find the digits in pi, mathematical collaborations, building mathematical models, calculations that use to be done by hand, etc.).

• Science: How has technology altered the way we look at science? How has science altered the way we create new technology? Focusing on the technology chosen in the Information Technology research project above, research the R&D process of this device. What scientific breakthroughs needed to take place so that the device could be mass produced? Revisit how the device changes learning in the classroom


Written by: Frank Lo, 2013 UBC Secondary School Teacher Candidate

Edited by: Jennifer Massoud, Secondary School Teacher

©2013 Vancouver Biennale