Social Studies

Social Studies (X) - Economics (X) - Technology (X) - World History (X)

Rivers, Roads, Rails, and Air | Barnstorming

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Learn about early airplanes, and how they were a novelty and flying a source of entertainment for bystanders, but quickly became essential in the transportation of passengers and goods.

Consumers Speak Up on Net Neutrality

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Discover how the net neutrality debate could affect consumers with this video and educational materials from PBS NewsHour from September 15, 2014.

‘Talking Cars’ Could Prevent Accidents Before They Happen

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In recent years, car companies have used technology to make cars safer. Now, the U.S. Department of Transportation is considering making features that were previously optional standard. One of these advances is automatic braking. Experts suggest that it could prevent accidents and save lives. Other technologies discussed include vehicle to vehicle communication and the "connected car".

Do You Choose To Have Your Privacy Invaded By Using Tech? | PBS Idea Channel

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The recent Heartbleed bug was, for many, just another reminder that our information will never be secure on the internet. We feel vulnerable and hopeless in the face of a long string of privacy concerns, and many argue that this is an inevitable result of technology. But since our culture has wholly jumped on the digital bandwagon, do we as individuals truly choose to sacrifice our privacy? Or maybe the better question is, how much do we even choose to use technology? 

Global Transportation | Humanity From Space

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Humanity's ability to easily traverse the globe is a modern wonder of our interconnected society. After thousands of years of innovation in transportation technology, we are connected like never before.

Who Invented the Computer?

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There are more than a dozen legitimate contenders to consider, all designers of unique, remarkable machines. But with facts and timelines clouded by controversy, contradictions, and intrigue, debate has raged in courtrooms and classrooms for decades. 

Trade Routes | Humanity From Space

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The international trading network connects us to everything our modern society consumes. With origins in China's Silk Roads, international trade has been a driving factor in connecting civilizations.

Are Bitcoins and Unusual Hats the Future of Currency? | PBS Idea Channel

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If a community agrees on the value of something, then that thing can become a currency to exchange for other goods. Just like American dollar bills (or euros, yen, or any other currency), or... bitcoins. Bitcoins are an online currency worth over $200,000,000, and though they are just 1s and 0s, some think that this is the future of money. Watch the episode and tell us what you think!

What Is Personal Information?

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Personal information identifies who we are, where we live, and how family, friends and others can find us to talk to us or come over and visit us. Personal information can help us communicate with others, but we have to be careful with that information when on the computer.

The Rise of Videogame Economies | Off Book

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The growth and complexity of online economies surprises many outsiders to the world of gaming. With millions of players around the world, in-game economies generate massive amounts of real dollars. Real-world economic theories can even be applied to these worlds. Many are now so big that game developers have hired real-world economists to help them manage these complex systems. But, with exploitative practices such as gold farming, are these systems in need of more regulation?

Technology: Will End of Net Neutrality Rules Impact Future Innovation?

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This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on January 16, 2014.

The FCC's net neutrality rules were adopted to guarantee equal access to all sites on the Internet. But an appeals court ruling releases broadband providers from those guidelines, allowing them to prioritize certain traffic.

U.S. Charges Chinese Officials with Cyber-Spying on Businesses

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Provide students with a real world example of cyber-spying and engage them in an ethics discussion about this type of crime with this PBS NewsHour video and educational resource from May 20, 2014. In this story, the U.S. indicted five Chinese military officials for stealing trade secrets by hacking into six major American businesses. Learn more about these unprecedented charges and the Obama administration’s strategy to stop these latest alleged Chinese cyber-attacks.

Made in L.A.: Examine Labor Practices in the Garment Industry

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This lesson is designed to be used in conjunction with the film Made in L.A., a film that follows the struggle of three Latina immigrants working for fair labor conditions in Los Angeles's garment factories. Note: This film has bilingual subtitles throughout and is fully accessible to English and Spanish speakers. This lesson compares current conditions in the garment industry with those at the turn of the 20th century.

Technology: How Companies Use Tech That Tracks You at Home and on the Road

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This Daily News Story from PBS NewsHour Extra was created on January 24, 2014.

Smart gadgets collect user information so that they can adapt to individual habits and personal tastes. But as this technology becomes more pervasive -- embedded in automobiles, refrigerators, even fire alarms and thermostats -- many fear the ways that private companies could misuse private customer data.