This unit covers 6-8 weeks. The core content of this unit can be taught primarily during social studies lessons. However, some of the writing and reading skills could be taught during a literacy block. Alternatively, lessons could be taught as stand alone assignements covering an entire marking period or academic year.This unit is concerned with the internet, and focuses on getting students to understand how the proliferation of new media outlets, networking sites, search engines, and electronic media shapes democratic practices.
Attention is also paid to the ways in which these new media can be abused or operate as instruments of responsible democratic empowerment. This unit conducts inquiry on how social networks and media technologies promote and disrupt democratic practices. Inquiry and critical thinking are core skills students master through this unit. Students find themselves at the center of learning allowing critical pedagogy to take place. Students consequently are lead to create their own media where their voices can be heard and honored. The hope is that students' voices are placed at the center of topics related to digital literacy and democratic practices. Mini-lessons and student activities (communication timelines, persuasive letters, drama skits, webquest, debates and service learning projects) provide practical applications in demonstrating how these new media can be abused or operate as instruments of responsible democratic empowerment.