Innovations and Social Networking

Innovations in Computing | Embedded Computing | Crowdsourcing | Social Impact of Computing in Society | Problem Solving |Review

Innovations in Computer Science

Computation has changed the way people think, work, live, and play. Could you imagine life without your favorite technology? Where did people get their information before the Internet? How did people communicate with one another before cellphones or email? Computers and the Internet have definitely changed the way we live and work. For most people in the developed world computers are used in some area of our life every day. It has changed the way we communicate and collaborate in our society. Our methods for communicating, collaborating, and problem-solving, and doing business have changed and are changing due to innovations enabled by computing. Many innovations in other fields are fostered by advances in computing. Computational approaches lead to new understandings, new discoveries, and new disciplines. Although these innovations in technology have provided many benefits to society, they have produced some harmful effects as well.

The world was a very different place 10 years ago. A decade ago, you couldn't order an Uber on your phone. You couldn't surf the web on Google Chrome. You couldn't rent a place to stay on demand with Airbnb.

Several incredible products and services have been invented in the last 10 years — some, in the last five or eight. Thanks to a tweet from Button cofounder Chris Maddern, we were inspired to look into some of the cool, convenient things the tech world has invented since 2007. Read the complete article by Avery Hartmans: These 18 incredible products didn't exist 10 years ago.

Microsoft's Concept - Future Vision 2020

Assignment: Question for Thought 1

Directions: Describe (not just list) three different programmed devices you rely on every day. Create a poster with your descriptions of devices, a pictures of each of your three devices and an appropriate title. Upload your poster to the itsLearning assignment dropbox.

Assignment: Innovation Current Event

Directions: Use your researching abilities to find an innovation in computer science that is of interest to you. Prepare a 1 page summary of the innovation that includes 1 picture and cite 1 source where you go information about the innovation. Submit the summary to the itsLearning dropbox.

Embedded Computing
aka "Internet of Things"

When people talk about "the next big thing," they are never thinking big enough. It's not a lack of imagination; it's a lack of observation. Daniel Burrus (Burrus Research) maintains that the future is always within sight, and you don't need to imagine what's already there. An example would be the buzz surrounding the Internet of Things.

"We humans have indeed always been adept at dovetailing our minds and skills to the shape of our current tools and aids. But when those tools and aids start dovetailing back — when our technologies actively, automatically, and continually tailor themselves to us, just as we do to them — then the line between tool and user becomes flimsy indeed." - Andy Clark

The Internet of Things collage from comsoc.orgWhat's the buzz? The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it's built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it's mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connection; and they say it's going to make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports "smart."

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a scenario in which objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. IoT has evolved from the convergence of wireless technologies, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and the Internet.

But here's what Mr. Burrus means when he says people don't think big enough. So much of the chatter has been focused on machine-to-machine communication (M2M): devices talking to like devices. But a machine is an instrument, it's a tool, it's something that's physically doing something. When we talk about making machines "smart," we're not referring strictly to M2M. We're talking about sensors.

A sensor is not a machine. It doesn’t do anything in the same sense that a machine does. It measures, it evaluates; in short, it gathers data. The Internet of Things really comes together with the connection of sensors and machines. That is to say, the real value that the Internet of Things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. All the information gathered by all the sensors in the world isn't worth very much if there isn't an infrastructure in place to analyze it in real time.

Cloud-based applications are the key to using leveraged data. The Internet of Things doesn't function without cloud-based applications to interpret and transmit the data coming from all these sensors. The cloud is what enables the apps to go to work for you anytime, anywhere.  Daniel Burrus, Burrus Research, The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes, Wired. Read Daniel Burrus' full article at

Kevin Ashton, cofounder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at MIT, first mentioned the Internet of Things in a presentation he made to Procter & Gamble. Here's how Mr. Ashton explains the potential of the Internet of Things:

"Today computers -- and, therefore, the Internet -- are almost wholly dependent on human beings for information. Nearly all of the roughly 50 petabytes (a petabyte is 1,024 terabytes) of data available on the Internet were first captured and created by human beings by typing, pressing a record button, taking a digital picture or scanning a bar code.

The problem is, people have limited time, attention and accuracy -- all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things -- using data they gathered without any help from us -- we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best."

Dr. John Barrett explains the Internet of Things in his TED talk. Dr. Barrett is Head of Academic Studies at the Nimbus Centre for Embedded Systems Research at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Group Director of the Centre's Smart Systems Integration Research Group. His research is focused on packaging, miniaturization and embedding of smart systems in materials, objects and structures. He has been active in Irish and European R&D projects in the areas of packaging and systems integration for almost 30 years and has over 100 publications in topics related to his field.

Assignment: How We Have Changed Interviews

Directions: You will interview 5 people to find out at least 5 ways their lives have changes as a result of technology. The five people must be at least 25 years old. Summarize your interviews in an essay of about 150 words. Submit your essay directly to the itsLearning textbox. Do not attach a separate document and be sure to proofread before submitting your essay.

Assignment: Computing Timeline Assignment

Directions: Each generation has witness technology in a different shape or form and was impacted by that technology. Create a timeline for each generation representing the technological innovation of the time. A generation is a group of people born and living during a same time period usually between 20 and 25 years, for example the Silent Generation was born between 1925 and 1942. You will create a timeline that shows the evolution of the computer for each generation. View the full assignment in itsLearning.

Crowdsourcing - The Mob Effect

It's a brave new world, indeed! Data flies around the world at the speed of light and exchanging information and ideas is wise for any enterprise that wants to remain competitive. Crowdsourcing refers to outsourcing a common task to a group of distributed individuals who may not know each other. Crowdsourcing allows businesses to use the input of multiple sources, both within the corporation and externally, to develop solutions for strategic issues or to find better ways to complete tasks. This new culture of innovation, supported by crowdfunding for worthwhile projects, allows for idea collaboration and technological innovation for the greater good. Further, our increasingly mobile world population allows for people from anywhere, and with any background, to give their input on a project. Crowdsourcing is used in some pretty innovative ways through human computation and citizen science.

The Web has made it possible to harness human cognition en masse to achieve new capabilities. Some of these successes are well known; for example Wikipedia has become the go-to place for basic information on all things; Duolingo engages millions of people in real-life translation of text, while simultaneously teaching them to speak foreign languages; and has enabled public-driven scientific discoveries by recasting complex biomedical challenges into popular online puzzle games. These and other early successes hint at the tremendous potential for future crowd-powered capabilities for the benefit of health, education, science, and society. In the process, a new field called Human Computation has emerged to better understand, replicate, and improve upon these successes through scientific research. Human Computation refers to the science that underlies online crowd-powered systems and was the topic of a recent visioning activity in which a representative cross-section of researchers, industry practitioners, visionaries, funding agency representatives, and policy makers came together to understand what makes crowd-powered systems successful. Teams of experts considered past, present, and future human computation systems to explore which kinds of crowd-powered systems have the greatest potential for societal impact and which kinds of research will best enable the efficient development of new crowd-powered systems to achieve this impact. This report summarize the products and findings of those activities as well as the unconventional process and activities employed by the workshop, which were informed by human computation research. A U.S. Research Roadmap for Human Computation, Pietro Michelucci, Lea Shanley, Janis Dickinson, Haym Hirsh

Human Computation: is a computer science technique in which a computational process performs its function by outsourcing certain steps to humans. This approach uses differences in abilities and alternative costs between humans and computer agents to achieve symbiotic human-computer interaction.

The World Wide Web has turned the wisdom of the crowd into a valuable, on-demand resource. Now scientists are asking how best to put crowdsourced cognition to work.

human computation
Click on the picture to listen to a podcast on The Emerging Science of Human Computation.

Citizen Science: the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists.

Assignment: Question for Thought 2

Directions: Select one of the questions below and respond with a short summary (~150 words). Paste your response directly into the itsLearning textbox. Do not attached a separate document and be sure to proofread your response before submitting.

Social Impact of Computing in Society

In the United States, a survey found that the majority of the United States lower income cities do not have broadband connect. To bridge the gap, President Barak Obama introduced the Connecting America: National Broadband Plan, a Federal Communications Commission plan to improve Internet access in the United States unveiled in March 2010. It required that the FCC draft a plan to include a detailed strategy for achieving affordable access to robust broadband by 2020.

Featured in the plan is a Consumer Broadband Test that reports a user's Internet download and upload speeds, latency and jitter. The government then uses these resources to analyze the nation's broadband quality, and to plan future locations that need improvements. While access to the Internet is important, it is only the starting point, which is where mobile technology comes in. Why? Governmental and non-governmental organizations are using phones in place of physical infrastructure. Unlike the Internet, mobile is not hampered by slow broadband speeds or electricity shortages, and can be used by those who cannot read or write. New mobile platforms are simple and portable which require only simple text messaging capability to be used as a tool for a host of activities.

Even in places that lack electricity, the number of mobile phone networks in many low- and middle-income countries surpasses other infrastructure such as paved roads and electricity. Mobile phones are the first telecommunications technology in history to have more users in the developing rather than developed world.

As we have seen, innovation and impact of online access varies in different countries and in different socioeconomic groups resulting in a digital divide. A digital divide is an economic and social inequality according to categories of persons in a given population in their access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT). It includes individuals, families, businesses and geographic areas at different socio-economic levels with regard to accessing the Internet. Georgia Virtual School

Assignment: Equal Access Discussion Board

Directions: Some sections of society such as older people, economically disadvantaged, people with disabilities or people in certain geographical or economic/political locations may not be able to access technologies such as the internet. Should the state intervene and supply training and hardware so everyone has an opportunity to "get online"? Is it a right that everyone should have access to a computer and the internet? Give reasons to support your answers. Submit a well-constructed paragraph of ~150 words to itsLearning.

Harmful and Beneficial Effects of Computing on Society

As you can probably imagine, there are both positive and negative impacts of computing on society. Mr. John Barrett mentioned both benefits and harmful effects in his Internet of Things Ted Talk.

What are some other positive and negative impacts of computers that you can think of?

Assignment: Harmful and Beneficial Effects of Computing on Society

Directions: Download the two worksheets from itsLearning titled "Harmful Effects of Computing" and "Benefits of Computing". You will choose one harmful effect of computing and a benefit of computing to debate. You will research and find examples and facts to support your position. You will anticipate what your opponent would say as a rebuttal and then respond to this rebuttal. Complete both worksheets and submit both when finished.

Social Media

What are some of the ways you use the Internet? This open network of the Internet encourages communication and collaboration between people all over the globe. It provides tools that allow people to create, collaborate, communicate and gain new knowledge.

These are a few of the ways people use the Internet:

No matter what the activity, everyone communicates on the Internet using the Internet Protocols established. They govern the way people connect and communicate on the Internet

Think Social Media Is A Fad? Think Again 2011 Youtube Facebook Twitter Linkedin Statistics

Assignment: Think Social Media Is A Fad?

Directions: Watch the Video Social Media, is it a Fad. Write a feasible, detailed plan to FBLA's President and CEO, Ms. Jean Buckley, for a new nation-wide project for high school students. This proposal must be at least two pages in length, include a budget, and a bar graph for pie chart.


Bloomberg's "Game Changers" goes from Harvard dorm rooms to NASDAQ trading floors to reveal the Facebook CEO's sheer and sometimes stubborn determination.


Kevin Rose sits down with Kevin Systrom, founder of the popular social photo sharing app, Instagram. They chat about Systrom's growing up with computers, his time spent at Stanford, and landing an internship at a startup destined to be worth billions. This ultimately led to launching Instagram which is now 15 million users strong and one of the fastest growing social networks on the planet!

Problem Solving

In computability theory and computational complexity theory, an undecidable problem is a decision problem for which it is known to be impossible to construct a single algorithm that always leads to a correct yes-or-no answer. A decision problem is any arbitrary yes-or-no question on an infinite set of inputs. Wikipedia

Assignment: How Technologists Untangle Complexity summary

Directions: In this fun and engaging talk, Jill Huchital at TEDxBrown University describes how engineers face a complex problem and the tools they need to work toward simple solutions. Watch the video by Jill Huchital and write a summary (~100 words) of at least two things that you found interesting about problem solving and can relate to in society. Post your summary directly to the itsLearning textbox. Do not attach a separate document and be sure to proofread before submitting your summary.

Assignment: Computer Innovation Project

Directions: Computing innovations have had considerable impact on the social, economic and cultural areas of our lives. Select a computing innovation that has significant impact, or the potential for significant impact on our society, economy, or culture, and that possesses the potential for both beneficial and harmful effects. You will use presentation software to present your information.

Choose an innovation that has a significant effect on some population or group from one of the fields listed above. The effect could be a small effect on more than a hundred people, or a very large effect on a smaller number of people. Download the full assignment in itsLearning.


Computers have changed the way people work, live, and play. They have changed the way we communicate, collaborate and gain knowledge. Current innovations such as mobile devices, instant messaging, videoconferencing, email and text messaging make it easy for people to communicate anywhere in the world. Computer innovations have beneficial and harmful effects to society. Former President Obama worked towards efforts to bridge the digital divide by passing the National Broadband Plan, a Federal Communications Commission plan to improve Internet access in the United States by 2020. Computing affects every area in our society. Computing innovations in the healthcare and science field are helping people with disabilities and other health problems. Georgia Virtual Learning


If you are having problems viewing this page, opening videos, or accessing the URLs, the direct links are posted below. All assignments are submitted in itsLearning. If you have having problems, contact Mrs. Rush through the itsLearning email client.

The Internet of Things is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes:

Connecting America: National Broadband Plan:




Mr. Greekson graphic:

Zombie graphic:

The Internet of Things graphic:

The Emerging Science of Human Computation:

These 18 incredible products didn't exist 10 years ago:

Transcript of this lesson