Digital Connection & Human Psychology

Digital Connection & Human Psychology

Annotation Skills


Follow along as your teacher models the process of reading and annotating the first paragraph of “Social Networks: What Maslow Misses” by Pamela Brown Rutledge.

  • As you follow along, make your own annotations.

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Later in the unit you’ll need to engage in this process independently, so make sure that you understand the process and get your questions answered at this time.

Social Networks Reading

Work Time

Read “Social Networks: What Maslow Misses” by Pamela Brown Rutledge.

  • Annotate the article, noting passages that make major claims or counterclaims and responding with a few thoughts of your own.
  • Find any confusing passages and write down any questions you have.
  • Choose at least three examples of evidence Rutledge uses to support her points. Write an annotation for each in which you evaluate her use of evidence. How convincing is it? Why?

Open Notebook

Share any questions you have with your teacher.

You Have a Choice
Determine how you will approach the work:

You can choose to work independently, work with a partner, work with a group, or confer with the teacher.

Notes on Digital Connection

Work Time

Once you’ve had a chance to ask and answer questions, use “Social Networks: What Maslow Misses” and these questions to write about the effect of digital connectivity on human psychology.

  • What digital tools do you use to increase your sense of being connected to others?
  • What social tools do you find the most helpful? Why?
  • What social tools do you find the most addictive? Why?
  • If you like to go on Facebook or text message, how does this article bring a sense of understanding to why you do?
  • What goals are easier to achieve because of our increased capacity to connect digitally?
  • How might this article help you respond to Digital Immigrants in your life?

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Thesis Draft

Work Time

Go back over your notes and writing from the unit so far, including your notes on the articles and your immigrant experience paragraph. Then write a one-sentence working thesis.

Your working thesis is not going to be the very best version of your argument. That will take time, analysis of evidence, and many revisions. However, writing a working thesis is an opportunity to push yourself to be specific in your thinking and to begin the process of answering a very challenging, complex question.

Here are two examples of a working thesis, each with its own contrasting view of the issue:

  • The digital era has brought new kinds of tools for social connections, which have made our ways of thinking and connecting very different than they were before.
  • The digital era may have brought new tools for socially connecting, but we are not very different than before since we are still seeking to fulfill the same needs, just in a new way.

Get started by making a first attempt at answering the question below.

  • What kind of human has the digital era created, and how are people who grew up digitally connected different from those who began connecting later in life?

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Thesis Revision

Work Time

As you know by now, it is difficult to capture a truly interesting argument in one sentence.

  • After your first attempt, spend a few minutes exploring new ideas.
    • Could someone make a reasonable argument against your thesis? If not, focus on clarifying your point.
    • What evidence will you use to support your thesis? If evidence is hard to find, you may need to shift your argument.
  • After answering these questions, revise your working thesis.

Open Notebook

Then share your working thesis with your teacher.

Digital Immigrant Interview


For homework, you will interview a Digital Immigrant, somebody who started connecting digitally after his or her childhood was over. The homework assignment itself contains ideas for questions you might ask, but the first step is picking somebody suitable to interview.

  • Brainstorm with the full class for a few minutes about the kinds of people it would be helpful and interesting to interview. Who will give you interesting and unexpected perspectives? Take notes as ideas occur to you.

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For homework, interview a Digital Immigrant, somebody who started digitally connecting after his or her childhood was over.

Use your understanding of the articles you have read so far as the basis for your conversation, and try to understand your interviewee’s perspective. You might begin by explaining the concept of Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.

Record or write down at least three of the most interesting answers you hear. Here are some questions you can use in your interview.

  • What technology makes you the most uneasy? Why?
  • What is the strangest thing you see young Digital Natives do with their technology?
  • Do you wish you could go back to a time when people didn’t use technology to connect socially? Why or why not?
  • Do you think Digital Natives’ brains are developing differently than yours did? Why or why not? In what ways?

Open Notebook

You have until Lesson 8 to complete this interview and share your findings. Don’t forget that you also have to complete your disconnection experiment by Lesson 7.