Making a Difference

It's never too early to start changing the world.

What were you doing when you were 14? Emma Yang, age 14, started coding when she was 6. Now she is launching an app named Timeless, which she designed to help her grandmother, and others like her, who are battling Alzheimer's. The app helps users recognize the people they are speaking with through facial recognition technology. Jim Axelrod of CBS News interviewed Emma for this video and the accompanying article.

Meanwhile, in Washington state, a third grader is championing the use of assistive technology. Kaleb Ries is visually impaired. Although he can read enlarged print, he has learned how to read Braille, partly through a variety of tech devices. Kaleb uses text-to-speech technology with his iPad, screen reader software, and a special computer, the BrailleNote, to convert his Braille into text that others can read. He recently addressed his school board to encourage them to continue supporting technology, reading from his own Braille notes.

Supporting Web Links
Discussion Questions/Activities
  1. As a class, view one or more of the videos included in these articles. Discuss the impacts these types of technology can make on the world. Additional examples can be found in the Supporting Web Links too. 
  2. Divide the class into small groups. Each group should attempt to come up with two or three ideas of technology that could make a difference. Provide enough time for each group to do some brainstorming.There is no right or wrong answer, so encourage students to be creative. Each group should share their ideas with the class, but should also be able to identify skills or knowledge that would be necessary to successfully develop their tech.
  3. As an individual project, ask students to find an example of a young inventor or entrepreneur that is successfully using technology to make a positive impact. Students may want to start by reading some of the articles in the Supporting Web Links, but should try to identify a new group or individual and report on their innovations. Students may write a brief report or create a presentation to share their findings with the class.

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