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Ask Slashdot: High-School Suitable Books On How Computers Affect Society?

timothy posted about a year ago | from the novelization-of-wargames-is-all-you-need dept.

Books 140

An anonymous reader writes "We are teaching an introductory class in computer science for high school students. We have the technical aspects of the course covered, there is a lot of information on the internet on designing that aspect of the class. We also want to cover some aspects of how computers affect society, privacy, expectations, digital divide etc. We were suggested Blown to Bits, which covers a lot of this but I'm not sure high school students are really going to enjoy it or even take away the right implications ... any recommendations for anything else ? Movies, Fiction, Non-Fiction Books and any other media are all welcome. Students are expected to read no more than 200 pages (that's all the time they have)."

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140 comments

Lessig's Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (4, Interesting)

JonZittrain (628028) | about a year ago | (#44406345)

How about Lessig's Code 2.0? It's cyberlaw's pathbreaking book, and it's written in a very accessible way. It's free online at http://www.codev2.cc/ [codev2.cc] .

Re:Lessig's Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1)

BenEnglishAtHome (449670) | about a year ago | (#44407949)

The submitter explicitly asks that suggestions be limited to works of 200 pages or less, so you suggest something that's ~400 pages long.

Yeah, that'll work.

1984 (0, Offtopic)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44406347)

Orson Welles' masterwork "1984" will teach them all they need to know about how computers have changed their society.
As an added bonus, it will also teach them to understand what politicians means when they use innocent sounding words.

Re:1984 (3, Informative)

RedLeg (22564) | about a year ago | (#44406469)

Surely you mean nineteen eighty-four, by George Orwell published in 1949?

-Red

Re:1984 (5, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44406485)

1984 has always been written by Orson Welles.

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406567)

1984 has always been written by Orson Welles.

That's right. He wrote it right after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor.

Re: 1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406749)

germans? try Japanese.

Re: 1984 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406923)

Double whoosh! missing both references.

Re: 1984 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407169)

DoublePlus whoosh!

(FTFY)

Re:1984 you mean... (1)

briester (1031918) | about a year ago | (#44406519)

Surely you mean We, by Yevgeny Zamyatin, published in 1921?
-B

Re:1984 (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year ago | (#44406579)

I was indeed doubleplusungood on the author.

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406693)

Surely you mean nineteen eighty-four, by George Orwell published in 1949?

-Red

You correct the author and eff up the title--should be, "1984" when referenced. I don't know who the bigger nunce is! You or the Orson Wells nunce.

Re:1984 (1)

RedLeg (22564) | about a year ago | (#44406875)

Some of us have to forethought to do a little reference work before we crank out a posting calling someone a "nunce", whatever that is.
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nineteen_Eighty-Four [wikipedia.org] . Please note the cover of the original British Edition.

    http://www.aim25.ac.uk/cgi-bin/search2?coll_id=5086&inst_id=13&term1=orwell [aim25.ac.uk] . You might peruse the section titled "Administrative/Biographical history", particularly near the end.

Since the later reference is the top-level catalog of his archived papers, including the original manuscript of the work in question, I would think that rather authoritative.

-Red

Re:1984 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407207)

ROSEBUD...

Re:1984 (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#44406825)

Orson Welles' masterwork "1984" will teach them all they need to know about how computers have changed their society.

There were no computers in "1984". The book depicted a surveillance society, but it was all done manually.

Stanislaw Lem - The Cyberiad (2)

sandbagger (654585) | about a year ago | (#44406349)

True, too true.

There is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406357)

There is a perfect book, but it's 201 pages, so nvm

Re:There is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406753)

"Students are expected to read no more than 200 pages (that's all the time they have)."

And that my friend is a fundamental problem with the education system today. If students cannot handle reading a book in excess of 200 pages I fear for the survival of homo sapiens.

First Post (0)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44406361)

1984

IBM and the Holocaust, and NSA books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406367)

IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black is probably the best one out there.

Also, James Bamford's books on the NSA (there are three?) talk about computers quite a bit.

Re:IBM and the Holocaust, and NSA books (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406799)

How about more recent events like Snowden v. NSA as proxy for US Government? Who needs history when we are living in dangerous times?

Re:IBM and the Holocaust, and NSA books (2)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44407735)

One of the reasons we live in dangerous times is due to the fact that those who ignore history tend to wind up repeating it.

Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (2)

tebeka (619906) | about a year ago | (#44406371)

I haven't seen anyone as good as Clay Shirky in studying and predicting the effects of the internet on society.
http://www.amazon.com/Here-Comes-Everybody-Organizing-Organizations/dp/1594201536 [amazon.com]

Re:Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky (1)

Two99Point80 (542678) | about a year ago | (#44407793)

This would be a good one - students could see the further changes which have happened in the five years since it was written.

200 pages is pretty limiting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406375)

You'd almost need to use Cliff's Notes if you want to cover anything more than half a book.

2001 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406379)

And done!

1984 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406391)

Yes, third post for 1984.

computer power and human reason (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406395)

start with http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_Power_and_Human_Reason

although it's 37 years old it's concise and still applicable.

Wargames (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406409)

Everyone should know about the WOPR.

Perhaps some Gibson, or Effinger, or Moran? (2)

RedLeg (22564) | about a year ago | (#44406439)

My first thought is Neromancer, but that may bust your page limit.

You might also look at selecting a story or two from Gibson's Burning Chrome, but as I don't have a copy handy at the moment, I can't make a hard recommendation.

Another consideration might be George Alec Effinger's When Gravity Fails. READ this one before you assign it, as it touches on some racy subject matter.

Finally, consider Daniel Keys Moran's The Long Run. Not as well known as the others, but a great read.

Hope this helps....

-Red

Re:Perhaps some Gibson, or Effinger, or Moran? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406905)

That's Neuromancer.

What the hell Slashdot? Am I seriously the first one to spot this?

touches on some racy subject matter.

As does Neuromancer, girls on autopilot being used as prostitutes anyone?

Re:Perhaps some Gibson, or Effinger, or Moran? (1)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#44406975)

Neuromancer is ideal science fiction. It investigates how technology has and might effect the way we live. Unlike the classic and wonderful pulp books, if does not have many of the assumption of the 40's and 50's.

The Difference Engine, although a bit racy, would lead to wonderful discussion about ideas, production, and mass production of technology. Why was the difference engine never built? What were the technological innovation that allowed the Enigma machine to be produced in quantity, the digital computer to be developed, and then mass market components to be produced. What were the technological developments that let us use incredibly wasteful higher level languages instead of flipping switches or assembly?

Virtual Light and that trilogy allows a more contemporary view of how technology effects our privacy, and how our dependency on technology means that we may know less than we think.

A more straightforward look at technology and privacy and security is Bruce Schneier Liers and Outliers, Certainly suitable for the upper level students. Unlike the other books which I would assign outside of class and then use the topic to drive discussion, this book might be used in class. Break it up into reporting groups that would then lead discussions based on what they read and researched.

Also, Dr. John Lienhard has a series of radio programs called Engines of Our Ingenuity [uh.edu] . Which this is a broader selection that what is called for here, there are many engaging selections that would apply. There are programs on the difference engine, Lady Ada, the census computer, Turing, and others.

The Silicon Jungle (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406441)

The silicon jungle is an interesting read about the effects of wide-spread collection of data by the large email/social sites.

How about something more useful? (2)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#44406447)

Why not spend the time you have teaching them some practical information they can use? How are they going to benefit from hearing someone's social agenda? Are the students there for your benefit, for you to use to advance your societal goals? Or are you there for their benefit, to help them learn things and improve their future lives?

My suggestion: skip these "society" lessons and use the time to teach them how to search text with regular expressions.

Re:How about something more useful? (0)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44406761)

Why not spend the time you have teaching them some practical information they can use? How are they going to benefit from hearing someone's social agenda? Are the students there for your benefit, for you to use to advance your societal goals? Or are you there for their benefit, to help them learn things and improve their future lives?

My suggestion: skip these "society" lessons and use the time to teach them how to search text with regular expressions.

Are there any humanities or social science topics that aren't a useless liberal plot?

Re:How about something more useful? (2)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#44407231)

How about teaching social science topics in social science classes?

Re:How about something more useful? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44407873)

Because the real world is not as neatly compartmentalised as you would like it to be, and these are high school kids, not grad students?

Re:How about something more useful? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#44407983)

All the more reason to stick with teaching them useful knowledge instead of trying to groom them for whatever societal role you have in mind for them.

Re:How about something more useful? (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44406763)

And here I am without mod points . . . damn.

Re:How about something more useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406965)

Or are you there for their benefit, to help them learn things and improve their future lives?

A perfect opportunity to educate them on the topic of mass surveillance, which is a massive threat.

Re:How about something more useful? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#44407253)

Maybe he'll teach them that mass surveillance is good and that only paranoid wingnuts oppose it. Either way, he's using the students to further his own agenda when he should be trying to give them knowledge that they can use.

Re:How about something more useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407439)

Teaching them about the dangers of government surveillance is knowledge they can use; they can use it to better society by not bowing down to government thugs.

Re:How about something more useful? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407915)

Go to Somalia! They don't have government mass surveillance there. It's your libertarian paradise.

Re:How about something more useful? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44407933)

Begging your pardon, but you appear to have confused "discussion of social issues" with "dissemination of propaganda".

Re:How about something more useful? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#44407969)

Which one is computer science? Which one is more useful than learning how to search text with regular expressions?

Different people call different things "propaganda" depending on what agenda they're pushing.

Re:How about something more useful? (1)

Zontar The Mindless (9002) | about a year ago | (#44407789)

How about we attempt to encourage kids to become responsible participants in society by getting them to think critically about society through having them read and discuss social topics?

Re:How about something more useful? (1)

Kohath (38547) | about a year ago | (#44407879)

Why not focus on serving the kids instead of serving your own notions of becoming "responsible participants in society"? What if a kid wants to be a successful and knowledgeable individual rather than merely a tool to bring about whatever societal goals you might have?

One of legimate roles of Hollywood (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406459)

is to provide fodder for discussion on topics like these, which are simultaneously too staid and too confusing for the classroom. It reminds me of an old economics textbook I once had that started with the sentence "Government is big and important in our society." Well, computers are even bigger and more important.

You can look at sci fi flicks for glimpses of what might be in store for us. But given the ages of your students, it might resonate more to assign them programs that show how people lived in the past:

"Leave it to Beaver", "I Love Lucy" - life before the computer age
"All in the Family", "Mary Tyler Moore Show" - only mainframe computers
"Family Ties", "Dallas" - personal computers and client/server computing, but no Internet
"Friends" - Internet and mobile phone era begins, but no social networking

Re:One of legimate roles of Hollywood (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406581)

Benson has the first mention of ARPANET.

Ob (2, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a year ago | (#44406475)

Re:Ob (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406783)

When the thread you're posting in is in the top five hits, I'm not really sure a LMGTFY is appropriate.

'We' - 1984 was a ripoff of it. (1)

briester (1031918) | about a year ago | (#44406503)

A russian woman wrote a work called 'We' about the changes that science (including political) was making to society. 1984 is a pretty unabashed ripoff of the book, and since you're studying the effects of tech, copyright issues are at the forefront. Making that read uniquely suited to the modern dialogue. Anyway, We can feel dry before you realise what the author is doing, which is another good reason for students to read it. The voice is mathematical to the point of lunacy, so statements like 'we fired the engine test precisely on time. We'll need to replace 20 engineers,' feel matter-of-course. And to me that did a wonderful job of communicating the dehumanization wrought by industry.

The title (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44406505)

Sounds like an autobiography of a Muslim

gift of fire (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406507)

http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/giftfire/

Used this in university, but should be easy enough of a read for HS students.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406513)

It's fiction, it's exciting, the protagonist is a high schooler, and it talks about crypto. Neil Gaiman approved.

Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (5, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | about a year ago | (#44406521)

http://craphound.com/littlebrother/download/ [craphound.com]

FREE BOOK. 136 Pages PDF. Other formats also available.

Re:Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about a year ago | (#44406865)

huge +1 for this, I am currently reading it and it is fucking awesome (though he has to work on word repetition sometimes ;))
Not to forget, if the students like it there is "Homeland" as a sequel, though I didn't read that one yet.

Re:Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#44406881)

Also, the sequel, Homeland [craphound.com] , and other books by Cory Doctorw, including Pirate Cinema [craphound.com] , For The Win, and Makers [craphound.com] (maybe not highschool appropriate).

The Future Does Not Compute (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | about a year ago | (#44406559)

Written in 1995 at the dawn of the Internet, The Future Does Not Compute: Transcending the Machines in Our Midst by Steve Talbott (and it's also available free online! [netfuture.org] ) is even more applicable now with the arrival of texting and the smartphone. It's about the reductionism enforced by computers, and how while initially luxuries, every new device soon becomes a necessity to compete and survive in the modern world, and how each additional technological dependency reduces our humanity and severs our rich connections to each other and to the complex natural world around us.

It's 500 pages long, but reading 200 of those pages will convey Talbott's philosophy and point of view.

Re:The Future Does Not Compute (1)

bmo (77928) | about a year ago | (#44407541)

how each additional technological dependency reduces our humanity and severs our rich connections to each other

And then you read "Life On The Screen" by Sherry Turkle, written about the same time, which says just the opposite.

--
BMO

Bradbury's take (2)

Mryll (48745) | about a year ago | (#44406599)

Fahrenheit 451 might be too long, but germane.

Re:Bradbury's take :KINDLE 451 (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about a year ago | (#44406627)

Or Nook 451?

Books? Why not newspapers? (1)

russotto (537200) | about a year ago | (#44406633)

_1984_ would be my book of choice, but a look at recent tinfoil-hatter screeds...err, wait, I mean legitimate and verified news stories... in newspapers about such things as metadata about all our phone calls and postal mail being recorded forever, license plate databases tracking our vehicle's (and therefore in many cases our own) movements, etc, would also be instructive.

Amusing Ourselves to Death (1)

jcolvin (210575) | about a year ago | (#44406635)

Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business by educator Neil Postman. Written about TV, but equally applicable to what the internet has become today.

The book's origins lay in a talk Postman gave to the Frankfurt Book Fair in 1984. He was participating in a panel on Orwell's 1984 and the contemporary world. In the introduction to his book Postman said that the contemporary world was better reflected by Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, whose public was oppressed by their addiction to amusement, than by Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, where they were oppressed by state control.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amusing_Ourselves_to_Death [wikipedia.org]

Re:Amusing Ourselves to Death (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#44406775)

Thankfully, the extraordinary productive power of division of labor and fossil fuels allow us to afford both amusement and repression! Take that, dystopian future!

What "right" implications? (1, Interesting)

KalvinB (205500) | about a year ago | (#44406657)

It's really not your job to indoctrinate students.

Since it's a computer science course, how about focusing on how computers work and making them do things instead of politics?

People really should not be allowed to teach until they have at least 10 non-teaching years (full time, paid) of experience in the area they want to teach.

If the students can't be bothered to read more than 200 pages about a subject then it really doesn't belong in school anyway. That's a little over 1 page per school day.

Re:What "right" implications? (1)

Arker (91948) | about a year ago | (#44406771)

I thought that remark showed a lack of respect for these students, as did the whole idea that blown to bits was too adult for them. It would actually be perfect for this.

But the 200 page limit would require the questioner to become thoroughly familiar with the work, so as to select the correct 200 pages to make a coherent course out of it.

Re:What "right" implications? (2)

melikamp (631205) | about a year ago | (#44407071)

People really should not be allowed to teach until they have at least 10 non-teaching years (full time, paid) of experience in the area they want to teach.

May be useful for vocational schools, where a particular trade is taught, but what does this mean for sciences? What would full time, paid experience in theoretical physics look like? Math? Computer science? Keeping in mind that the difference between programming an computer science is like that between writing a novel and methodically studying 1000 novels written by others. Understanding the nature and the laws of computation is not at all the same as churning out java script snippets, and no amount of coding alone will make one a computer scientist. A theoretical computer scientist, OTOH, does not have to know programming at all: she can produce a major impact with nothing but math.

The only meaningful prerequisite for teaching fundamental science is doing research, which is what many graduate students do. And doing fundamental research is quite different from the full time, paid experience. For starters, it requires leisure, and nothing specific can be expected to come out of it.

Re:What "right" implications? (1)

KalvinB (205500) | about a year ago | (#44407165)

Why are we teaching theoretical stuff in HS? A HS student isn't going to become a computer scientist. That's college level material. HS is about hands on exploration of the world. A theoretical anything doesn't belong in a HS. They belong in a university.

An English teacher should have experience writing in some form. A math teacher should have experience in a career that makes heavy use of math. A science teacher should have experience in a career applying science. A computer science teacher should have experience programming for a living. A history teacher should have experience traveling the world.

This is not hard.

The current system brings in a bunch of people fresh out of college that have no experience in their content area but what's in the textbook.

Might I suggest... (2)

Gadget27 (1931378) | about a year ago | (#44406671)

... that you keep the course limited to the 'technical aspects' of the course?

The students would likely be better served if the course focused on the computer science instead of those other sociological and/or political matters.

I remember taking my first similar class in high school. Already being a very limited hobbyist programmer at the time, it was easier for me that most of my classmates. I did learn some better practices, and it was rewarding for me to be able to help out my classmates, some of whom found a few of the concepts fairly alien. The class focused on syntax, logic, and math. That was enough to keeps things moving forward, and by the end of the course, we were all creating simple programs and pleased to see what we can get the computers to do when we put what we had learned into practice.

Looking back at that, I think we'd have been derailed if we were then forced to consider things like digital divide or privacy expectations. I'm not saying that those matters aren't things worth considering, but not in an introductory class. Leave that material for a later elective... let the kids get their hands dirty right out of the gate.

Re:Might I suggest... (1)

hurwak-feg (2955853) | about a year ago | (#44407619)

Mod this up.

Such a broad assignment... (1)

ring-eldest (866342) | about a year ago | (#44406715)

You may be trying to cast your net a little wide looking for a single (or even a few) books, articles, and movies that illustrate technology and its impact on our lives, privacy, culture, etc. You might be better off giving them a laundry list of books (I would stick to books for a high school level course) and giving them the opportunity to answer that extremely broad question in the form of a 5 page paper, or something along those lines. Almost none of them are under 200 pages... You're well within "short story / novella" lengths there, and you REALLY need to rethink that, even if it means turning this into an extra credit assignment. Is it possible that you're vastly underestimating the amount of reading time your teenage students have?

You've got a lot of material to potentially choose from, so why not let the students make their own choices? Besides, it makes reading 30 "original" responses that much more interesting when they're not all saying the exact same thing.

Some of my choices would include:

Gibson's Neuromancer
Gibson's All Tomorrow's Parties (actually the whole trilogy would be okay here)
Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash
Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age
Neal Stephenson's Anathem (for the really brave students...)
Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and probably Ender's Shadow too
Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch
Tad William's Otherland series, although this is probably too bulky to be feasible
Daniel Keys Moran's Long Run and The Last Dancer
Heinlein's Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Heinlein's Starship Troopers
Heinlein's Door into Summer

If you open up your page limit the options are almost endless. If you don't, you'll never find a single work under 200 pages that illustrates the things you want to illustrate. Especially not in fiction.

200 pages on how computers affect society (1)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year ago | (#44406731)

Because they spend the rest of their time on Facebook, Twitter, and WoW.

Neuromancer! (1)

AtomicDevice (926814) | about a year ago | (#44406757)

It's got a ninja-lady in space!

200 pages? (1)

cppmonkey (615733) | about a year ago | (#44406767)

Okay, you may think you only have time for 200 pages. And you may have some students putting in only the minimum effort but you really ought to have more than 200 pages. One of the best teachers I had assigned 100 pages a week for 11 grade history. I haven't read Blown to Bits yet (downloading) but it looks good. I would stay away from fiction even near reality works like Little Brother and 1984 as the primary source but they are important if only in how they have changed how we look at technology. Put them on an additional reading list and have them handy for the student that resonates with the material. Also consider having at least an excerpt of Lessig or watch one of his presentations in class. Have it ready for a substitute, he is a great speaker and I use him as an example when teaching presentation skills. You might also consider Bruce Schneier's blog as a source. Bruce has essays about this material and links to scholarly and popular works in this areas all the time.

+1 for works of Cory Doctorow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406811)

Doctorow also wrote some short stories for quick reads (I recommend Scroogled, esp. in the wake of the discussions around the NSA): http://craphound.com/?cat=2

Take a look at Douglas Coupland's books as well (Microserfs, JPod), even if some of the content is a bit dated: http://www.coupland.com/

Technopoly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44406845)

Neil Postman's Technopoly is an excellent book on the subject.

A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about a year ago | (#44406931)

Neal Stephenson's books are bigger than 200 pages, but is just hard to stop reading some them. The Diamond Age is a great start, essentially is how a poor homeless 6 year old girl becomes a superpower by herself and changes the world because got access to Wikipedia++

The classics (2)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#44406943)

  • "The Machine Stops" [illinois.edu] , by E. M. Forster. Covers the collapse of a technological society. Written in 1909, 12,000 words, copyright expired, and still relevant, readable, and worrisome.
  • Doug Engelbart's demo, 1968" [stanford.edu] Today, you can do this on your phone. This is where it all began - point and click, editing, search engines, the first mouse, hyperlinks, networks, online collaboration.

Hackers by Steven Levy (1)

bryanandaimee (2454338) | about a year ago | (#44406979)

Hackers by Steven Levy. It is not so much about the effect of computers on society as it is the effect of computers on early computing pioneers. It is very readable and makes the early history of the PC revolution both human and exciting.

lotsa books - how about a movie? (1)

redneckmother (1664119) | about a year ago | (#44406993)

Looks like there are several book suggestions. How about a movie? I suggest Terry Gilliam's "Brazil".

An essay per week instead of a book (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407081)

How about gathering a collection of essays, say 1 from Bruce Schneier, 1 from Cory Doctorow, 1 from Fenyman's lectures etc to give an overview of issues facing computer scientists?

er- write it yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407107)

If you are clued up, how long would it really take to write two hundred pages of course material on this topic, with appropriate references? If you are NOT clued up, should you really be teaching such a topic?

You say 'High School' level, which means you'll be required to puke out a metric ton of pro-Obama propaganda anyway. This being so, why not simply contact the appropriate 'PR' department of Team Obama (soon to be Team Bush III or Team Clinton II) for the 'politically correct' statements about the wonders of the computer age?

If we pretend for a moment that you desire to be honest (hohohohohoho) in your teaching, how do you intend to cover the universal surveillance of every citizen of your nation by the NSA? How do you intend to cover the ramifications of Bill Gates working with the NSA to place a camera, microphone, and movement detection system into the homes of millions of Americans, poorly disguised as a 'gaming console'? How do you intend to cover the story of the school department that gave the pupils laptops to take home, purely so perverts could spy on the young people in their bedrooms- and the fact that immunity laws prevented the perverts from prosecution after the fact?

Are you looking for materials that will inform your pupils that every cell phone is a real-time location tracking device, and that its cameras and microphones can be remotely activated by the NSA at any time? What about the fact that vehicle tires have had embedded RFID chips for years now, so that astonishing cheap under-surface readers can track the movement of Americans infinitely more efficiently than the camera systems people THINK are responsible for all monitoring of traffic movements?

Why the hell does the understanding of all this (or NOT, few if any current books contain the above information) require the opinions of a publisher through the words of his/her carefully chosen authors?

But I will make one specific suggestion- the short story "A Logic Named Joe". This story takes moments to read, and pre-dates the Internet (or even proper computers) by quite a time. But the issues it imagines are quite remarkable and prescient, and would make for an excellent point of discussion for pupils of all technical abilities.

Moths to the Flame (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407215)

My ex-adviser wrote this book, "Moths to the Flame" and you will find it here: http://www.roxie.org/books/moths/. The book enables you to think about computers and their consequences without assuming you know computer science.

How about teaching computer science? (1)

Nukky Cisbu (1738668) | about a year ago | (#44407235)

The kiddies these days already get enough social engineering in all their other classes. Why not actually teach computer science in a computer science course?

I realize it's an introductory class, but surely you could actually teach them something useful where they end the course with some accomplishment, like enough html to make a simple hand-coded web page, or some other language that will end with a finished program of some sort. Even the old Commodore Basic I was taught gave me a foundation in the structure of programming.

Keep a technical course technical.

Weisenbaum, Virilio, Manovich (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407313)

Joseph Weisenbaim, "Computer Power and Human Reason"
Paul Virilio, "The Information Bomb"
Lev Manovich, "The Language of New Media"
Dalai Lama, "Ethics for the New Millennium"
Orson Scott Card, "The Memory of Earth" (sci. fi.)

Films:
"Surviving Progress"

Wrong question. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about a year ago | (#44407369)

"High-School Suitable Books On How Computers Affect Society?"

What's that 'book' thing you're talking about?

I think that has already been affected in Society.

Player piano (2)

dkmeans (883158) | about a year ago | (#44407455)

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut....

Science and Technology Studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407475)

I would contact a professor in a college/university Science and Technology Studies program, like this one. There are entire degree programs in the area you want these students to read.

Re: Science and Technology Studies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407515)

https://www.google.com/search?q=computing+and+society+reading&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&client=safari#hl=en&gs_rn=22&gs_ri=tablet-gws-psy&pq=computing%20and%20society%20reading&cp=21&gs_id=46&xhr=t&q=science+technology+studies&es_nrs=true&pf=p&sclient=tablet-gws&client=safari&oq=science+technology+st&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.&bvm=bv.49784469,d.dmg&fp=ec843345db9e1b4c&biw=1024&bih=672

Networked Life: 20 Questions and Answers (1)

Aphonia (1315785) | about a year ago | (#44407505)

Networked Life: 20 Questions and Answers is a new book by Mung Chiang at Princeton which picks a few major features of our modern technological society and explains them in some detail. Doesn't require math, very clearly written and also relatively cheap.

The Transparent Society by David Brin 1998 (1)

shmorhay (781528) | about a year ago | (#44407551)

David Brin's 1998 book "The Transparent Society" (ISBN 9780738201443) is cogent and still timely -- http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/transparent-society-david-brin/1100622841 [barnesandnoble.com] and see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Transparent_Society [wikipedia.org] -- consider mentioning it as supplementary reading at least.

Stallman (1)

Stormwatch (703920) | about a year ago | (#44407575)

You can't go wrong with "Free as in Freedom 2.0" and "Free Software, Free Society". Both are just a little over 200 pages, and available as free PDFs.

Marshall McLuhan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407653)

How about selections from Marshall McLuhan's "Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man"?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Understanding_Media:_The_Extensions_of_Man

Dilbert (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44407711)

Select Dilbert cartoons from the Internet age might be a good thing to lighten the atmosphere - Bob the Dinosaur being mistaken for a COBOL programmer, Ratbert's bug dance on the keyboard, Dogbert doing maniacal tech support, etc.

Extrapolation (1)

smprather (941570) | about a year ago | (#44407821)

Greg Egan - Diaspora, Ray Kurtzweil - The Singularity

Political indocrination by any other name.... (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#44407921)

I'm not sure high school students are really going to enjoy it or even take away the right implications ...

In other words, you're not teaching them computer science, you're going to indoctrinate them politically - and you want to be sure they aren't exposed to anything or reach any conclusions that doesn't agree with your views.

Get media matter known (1)

edis (266347) | about a year ago | (#44408065)

I would want them to be introduced to things like media theory by Marshall McLuhan, so they could grab whole picture, not just load of detail.
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