4.10. Impacts of CS Privacy Explore Curricular Activity

This lesson focuses on the global impact issue of privacy and security. Students are encouraged to think more deeply about the data trails that they leave as they use computers and what their responsibilities are while developing mobile apps. There is an optional debate activity where students can delve deeper into the topic of privacy.

Professional Development

The Student Lesson: Complete the activities for Mobile CSP Unit 4 Lesson 4.10: Impacts of CS: Privacy


4.10.1. Learning Activities

Estimated Length: 135 minutes without debate, 225 minutes with debate

  • Hook/Motivation (5 minutes): Introduce the lesson and the idea of digital data privacy  and privacy concerns using the introduction part of the lesson. Explain to students that Chapter 2 of Blown to Bits makes the point that focuses on the issue of how the digital explosion affects our privacy. This is an especially important issue for today's mobile computing generation because our smart phones and tablets cannot only track our electronic correspondence, they can track our whereabouts, opening whole new areas of potential privacy infringements. Define PII and cookies.
  • Explore Curricular Activity (95 minutes):

    • Activity - Part 1 Data Types and Data Collection (10 minutes): As a class or working collaboratively in small groups, complete the Data Types and Data Collection reference sheet. Once filled in, this sheet can be used as a reference for the remainder of the lesson.
    • Activity - Part 2 Classifying Data (20 minutes): Have the students complete the Classifying Data worksheet. When finished, ask them to compare answers with a classmate. It's okay if they do not finish the entire worksheet. Next, watch this NY Times Video: Retailer’s Predictions Video (2:38). After watching the video, ask students to identify what data is collected in the video and how is it being used. Consider if this is a good or bad use of the data. Transition to discussing the IPOS chart and defining input, output, processing, and storage.
      • Class Exercise: As a class draw, label, and explain the scenario of having to type a paper for a class using an IPOS structure chart. Note: The keyboard is the input device, the printer is the output device
    • Activity - Part 3 Collecting Data (20 minutes): Have the students complete the Collecting Data Worksheet. For this part of the activity, they will visit the website aboutmyinfo.org and enter their date of birth, gender, and zip code. Have the students discuss why they may be easily identifiable by this information. (HINT: Estimate the number of people in their zip code and the number of unique combinations of birth date and gender. See the About page of the website for more information.) 
    • Activity - Part 4 Explore a Computing Innovation (45 minutes): After completing the above activities, give students time to work independently to explore a computing innovation of their choice. Students should submit answers to the following questions:
      1. Identify the data used by the computing innovation.
      2. Write a paragraph that explains how the data is consumed, transformed, or produced by this computing innovation.
      3. Write a paragraph that explains any data privacy, security, or storage concerns related to the computing innovation.
  • Reading Activity (In-Class, 25 minutes or Homework): Students should read Chapter 2 to learn about some of the ways our electronic devices impinge on our privacy. Students should complete a Double-Entry Journal as they read Chapter 2. (A template is provided in the chapter’s materials list.) The students’ journal should summarize and comment on at least four quotes or summarized ideas that the authors bring forward in this chapter.
    • Ask students to share an item or two from the chapter that they included in their Double-Entry Journal. They can share an idea from the text which they thought was important and then can tell what they thought about the idea.
    • Working in teams, ask students to discuss the questions for Chapter 2 and have the students record their answers in their Google portfolio.
    • Ask each team to share its answers for one of the portfolio questions. Other groups can add their ideas once groups have shared. All students can make additions and revisions to their responses in the Google portfolios.
    • Ask students the following questions:
      • Are you concerned about digital privacy?
      • Are you willing to give up your privacy for convenience?
      • What are the pros and cons of giving up privacy?
  • Rethink, Reflect and/or Revise (10 minutes): Summarize and restate arguments from the debate (optional, see below) and the entire chapter. Encourage students to think more about their own privacy and to be aware, such as with social media. Meanwhile, each student should save their portfolio entry for this lesson. This entry will serve as their formative assessment.

Optional - Debate Activity

  • Possible Debate Questions:
    • The digital explosion hurts personal privacy (one group argues that it does hurt personal privacy; the other group argues that it does not).
    • In terms of privacy, negative effects of social media far outweigh the benefits (one group argues that negative effects outweigh benefits; the other group argues that benefits outweigh the negative effects).
    • Americans should be concerned about their privacy because of social media (one group argues that Americans should be concerned; the other argues that they should not be concerned).
    • OR another question that the teacher provides for students.
  • Debate Preparation, Day 1 (45 minutes):
    • 5 minutes: Tell students that they are going to participate in a debate about the idea of privacy. Ask them the following questions:
      • What do you know about "debates"?
      • Have you seen a debate?
      • How is a debate structured?
      • How is it different than two people arguing?
    • 5 minutes: Have the students split into two groups. One group will argue for a chosen statement, and the other will argue against the statement.
    • 35 minutes: After the teams are chosen, have the groups split into pairs and then work in those pairs to research potential arguments. Each pair should come up with 2-3 arguments that are supported by reputable research. Students should write down their ideas and document their sources. Each team is responsible to bring their best arguments (and evidence) to class for the next day. If they run out of time, they should continue their research as homework.
  • Debate Preparation, Day 2 (45 minutes): Groups should gather and pairs should share their arguments and their evidence. The groups will spend the class hour deciding the following: What three or four arguments make the strongest case for their side to use in the debate? Which students will give the initial argument? Which students will make the rebuttal(s)?
  • Debate Performance, Day 3 (45 minutes):
    • 5 minutes: Each team meets to finalize their preparation.
    • 10 minutes: One person from each team delivers an initial 5 minute argument.
    • 10 minutes: Groups prepare for their rebuttal.
    • 10 minutes: One person from each team delivers a 3 minute rebuttal. (The rebuttals could be repeated for longer debates.)
    • 10 minutes: Individually, students write down:
      • what they believe was their team’s strongest argument
      • what they believe was the opposing team’s strongest argument
      • how they believe a judge (or objective party) would rule on this debate.

AP Classroom

The College Board's AP Classroom provides a question bank and Topic Questions. You may create a formative assessment quiz in AP Classroom, assign the quiz (a set of questions), and then review the results in class to identify and address any student misunderstandings.The following are suggested topic questions that you could assign once students have completed this lesson.

Suggested Topic Questions:

  • Topic 5.6 Safe Computing

Explore Curricular Activity: This lesson includes an activity that is part of the Explore Curricular Requirements for AP CSP. Additional resources and materials can be found in the Explore Curricular Requirement Teacher Resources guide available as a secure document through the AP Classroom site.

Assessment Opportunities and Solutions

Solutions Note: Solutions are only available to verified educators who have joined the Teaching Mobile CSP Google group/forum in Unit 1.

Assessment Opportunities

You can examine students’ work on their reflection portfolio entries to assess their progress on the following learning objectives. If students are able to do what is listed there, they are ready to move on to the next lesson.

  • Interactive Exercises:
  • Portfolio Reflections:
    LO X.X.X - Students should be able to ...
  • In the XXX App, look for:

Differentiation: More Practice

If students are struggling with lesson concepts, have them review the following resources:

Differentiation: Enrichment

Background Knowledge: Privacy Resources

  • The National Science Foundation's CS Bits &Bytes newsletter is issued approximately every month. The newsletter includes background information and an activity that can be used in the classroom. The newsletter on "Privacy in the Information Age" takes a more in-depth look at Latanya Sweeney's research on individual privacy and provides some exercises that will help understand privacy concerns and algorithms better.
  • Teaching Privacy is an NSF-funded resource created by an interdisciplinary team at U.C. Berkeley's that contains some nice lessons that teach about privacy.

Teaching Tips: Classroom Debates

Education World's Debates in the Classroom page has a number of articles and resources. There are also rubrics for debates and voting if you would like to assess the debate.

4.10.2. Professional Development Reflection

Discuss the following questions with other teachers in your professional development program.

  • How does this lesson help students toward understanding that computing innovations have both beneficial and harmful impacts, in this case as it pertains to personal privacy?

    I am confident I can teach this lesson to my students.
  • 1. Strongly Agree
  • 2. Agree
  • 3. Neutral
  • 4. Disagree
  • 5. Strongly Disagree