All posts by Michael Macfadden

Unit 4: Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship is about more than just being polite in your YouTube comments. In this unit, we will explore what it means to be a member of a connected society.

The Internet’s Own Boy

Aaron Swartz, a Highland Park native, was widely considered one of the internet’s shining stars. The documentary below examines his life and contributions as well as his controversial and untimely death.

Study Guide

Unit 3: Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making

How can we use technology to inform our decision making and filter the signal from the noise?

The Beauty of Data Visualization

In this video, David McCandless discusses the impact visual graphics can make when applied to abstract words and numbers.

Essential Questions

  • What is Open Source technology and how has it impacted society?
  • What frameworks of thinking benefit from technology?
  • How can we use technology to inform our decision making and filter the signal from the noise?

Table of Contents

Study Guide

Unit 2: Communication and Collaboration

How has technology impacted the way we communicate and collaborate?

Innovation Sparks Innovation

Founder of internet retail giant, Jeff Bezos draws an interesting analogy between the information age and the dawn of the electric industry.

Essential Questions

  • What is “the cloud” and how has it impacted computing?
  • How have blogging, podcasting, and video streaming changed the media landscape?
  • What impact has enhanced communication and collaboration had on “crowdsourcing?”
  • What is “virality” and what impact does it have on society?
  • What are the most common cloud computing services and what are their most appropriate use cases?
  • What is SaaS (Software as a Service) and how does it differ from traditional software?
  • How does collaborative Word Processing affect workflow?
  • When does a slide deck help/hinder a presentation?

Unit 2: Table of Contents

Study Guide

Visit the link below to participate in a fun review activity:

Lesson 4: Organization

So far we’ve looked at strategies to find what we’re looking for, to curate our own feeds, and to assess the credibility of what we’re looking at. In this lesson, we’re going to look at strategies for keeping all of this information organized.


As the quantity of information that we process increases, it becomes increasingly helpful to utilize note taking applications to keep track of our digital and analog lives.  Evernote is a free, cross platform note taking application that many view as their external brain. Watch the video below to learn more.

Evernote Web Clipper

Evernote offers a very useful extension the Chrome Web Store that allows you to “clip” selections of websites, whole web pages, and PDFs to your evernote account. Like your other notes, you can organize your clippings into Stacks and Notebooks. You can Tag your clippings like notes too.

Click the image below to visit the Chrome Web Store, then search for the “Evernote web clipper” extension (not the app – though can download that too if you like).


Evernote Checklist

Time to Take Some Notes

Create a new note in your “Tech Essentials” notebook called “Unit 1 – Research and Information Fluency – Notes” then define each of the following vocabulary words from our studies so far.

  • Spiders:
  • URL:
  • Parse:
  • Query:
  • Google as a Dictionary:
  • Google as a Calculator:
  • Google as a Unit Converter:
  • Reverse Image Search:
  • RSS:
  • RSS Aggregator: 
  • Credible Domain Extensions:

Digital Graphic Design

Discover how to create and edit a variety of static raster images and vector images. Experience the production and modification of typography, logos, product packaging, digital pictures and creative designs using professional software packages including Adobe Photoshop ® and Illustrator ®.


Click the following link to download the Course Syllabus

Google_Classroom_LogoGoogle Classroom

This year, we will be using Google’s new classroom management tool Google Classroom to communicate, distribute, and collect assignments and resources.  You will need a join code in order to join this class.

  • Gold 4: h36injm
  • Blue 2: uq1bk0
  • Blue 3: pa97oce

Table of Contents

Lesson 3: Assessing Credibility

The internet is like the wild west. There are very few rules, and almost anything goes. In this lesson, we’ll learn some strategies to navigate such uncertain territory.

sighting.dehydrated_tree_octopusThe Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus

How can you tell that the following website is not credible?

Validating Sites

Visit the following pairs of sites and determine which is real and which is a spoof.

Use this form to mark your answers:

Exit Slip

Click here to complete today’s exit slip: