Information & Security Technologies

  • Bandwidth and Data Conversion

    This interactive activity, adapted from the Wisconsin Online Resource Center, explores how data are transmitted in computer systems. Animated diagrams illustrate how data are transferred in parallel form inside a computer and then converted to serial form for transmission over long distances. Learn about bandwidth capacity techniques, including how modems convert the binary data into analog signals. In addition, learn about different types of modems (dial-up, digital subscriber line, cable, and fiber optic) that are used to connect to the Internet.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Computer Networks

    In this interactive activity adapted from the Wisconsin Online Resource Center, discover how computers communicate with one another through networks. Learn about types of networks (local area networks and wide area networks) and three common components: links, nodes, and routers. In addition, investigate some of the advantages and disadvantages of four kinds of network topologies: mesh, bus, star, and ring. Finally, explore the role of routers and how data travels from one network to another.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Careers in Information and Security Technologies

    Investigate three possible career paths in information and security technologies: administration, development, and integration, in this interactive activity produced for Teachers' Domain. Explore each path to learn more about the education and experience required for particular jobs such as computer support specialist, network and systems administrator, computer security specialist, database administrator, computer technician, computer hardware engineer, computer software engineer, computer training specialist, computer systems analyst, and network engineer.

    Grades: 6-12
  • GPS: Where in the World Are You?

    In this interactive activity produced for Teachers' Domain, learn how the Global Positioning System (GPS) uses trilateration to identify the location of a receiver. Investigate how each GPS satellite broadcasts a radio signal that carries information (the time the signal was transmitted, the position of the satellite, and a pseudo-random-noise code) and how the signals from three different satellites are used to determine the receiver's location. In addition, explore how the signal from a fourth satellite is used to achieve greater precision.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Technology Over Time

    In this interactive activity adapted from A Science Odyssey, learn how technology in the home has changed through the years. Scroll through a timeline from 1900 to 2010 to explore technological innovations in the home (such as phonographs, telephones, refrigerators, radios, televisions, and computers), and read about how they were developed and adapted and how they changed the way people live.

    Grades: 3-8
  • Geospatial Revolution

    This video segment from Geospatial Revolution, produced by Penn State Public Broadcasting, demonstrates how different digital technologies can be used together to help in a crisis situation. In the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, a technology platform called Ushahidi used a combination of satellite images, information collected on the ground via text messages and social media Web sites, and volunteer translators outside of Haiti, to produce interactive online maps. The maps reflected the real-time situation, indicating where help was needed and the location of collapsed buildings and makeshift hospitals.

    Grades: 6-13+
  • ICT Center | A Simple Fiber-Optic Communications System

    In this video from the ICT Center, learn how rise-time analysis is performed to determine the maximum data rate of a fiber optic communications system. Animations and diagrams show how a transmitter, fiber, and receiver work together to transfer information and how component rise times and fiber dispersion contribute to total rise time.

    Grades: 11-12
  • Interference and Diffraction

    In this video from the ICT Center, learn about interference and diffraction. See how the wave properties of light are used to explain interference patterns on a screen, and learn about related technologies such as the Fabry-Perot cavity, Bragg gratings, interference filters, and antireflection coatings. In addition, learn how diffraction patterns are produced, and study the grating equation.
    Grades: 11-12
  • The Index of Refraction and Snell’s Law

    In this video from the ICT Center, learn about the index of refraction and Snell's law. Review a simple example of refraction, the speed of light in materials and the formula for calculating the index of refraction. Explore a table of the refractive indices of common media and materials used in fiber optics and semiconductors. Finally, examine Snell's law to understand the relationship between incident and refracted angles.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • Photodetector and Receiver Characteristics

    In this video from the ICT Center, learn about fiber optic receivers. Investigate the components of an optical receiver; how a photodetector converts an optical signal to an electrical one; and the characteristics of PIN, avalanche, and metal-semiconductor-metal photodiodes.

    Grades: 11-13+
  • ICT Center | Fiber Optics

    Learn about the angles associated with light propagation in optical fibers from this video by the National Center for Information and Communications Technologies. Animations and diagrams illustrate the meaning of total internal reflection, acceptance angle, and numerical aperture.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • LED and Transmitter Characteristics

    Learn about fiber optic transmitters in this video from the ICT Center. Explore the components of a fiber optic transmitter, including a source, a modulator, an electrical driving circuit, and fiber coupling mechanics. Animations illustrate how the process of spontaneous emission converts electrical information to an optical signal in a light-emitting diode, or LED. In addition, learn about characteristics that make a source suitable for fiber optic communications.

    This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Fiber Optics

    In this media-rich lesson plan, students investigate how the index of refraction of materials is related to fiber optics: they explore the phenomenon of total internal reflection and learn how dispersion can affect fiber optics.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Planning Your Future Career in Advanced Technology

    In this media-rich, self-paced lesson, students explore the range of industries that produce and rely on advanced technology and learn how their skills and interests may align with career opportunities in this cutting-edge sector. The lesson contains videos that feature professionals describing their work and educational experiences, and provides details on the different college-level programs that prepare tomorrow’s workers for the industries’ challenging and well-paying jobs. The lesson concludes with activities that students can complete to help them more clearly define their goals and plan pathways to rewarding careers.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Agricultural Technology Student: Farming & GPS/GIS

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, learn why, to be a successful farmer today, you need the latest computer technology. Community college student Adam Sheppard’s family has been farming the same land for seven generations. The geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) technology he is studying in school can help farmers know how much seed to buy, where to plant, and how much compost or fertilizer to use. Adam's internship at a co-op farm allows him to apply what he's learned in the classroom. When finished with school, he plans to bring his knowledge back home to his family's farm.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • Information Technology Student: Computer Programming & Support

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, learn how exploring an interest in computers can lead to a new career. After taking, and enjoying, an online course, Hilda Villavicencio decided to study computer programming and information technology (IT) at community college. Students who attend an IT program learn how computers function, so that whether they go into networking, technical support, or any other branch of IT, they bring a solid understanding of computer systems and how to maintain them. Hilda interns at the computer help-desk at her school where she uses what she's learning in the classroom to help others. She explains where she'd like to be in five years, and how her degree will take her there.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Information Technology: Computer Systems Engineer

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, learn what drove Choice Jennings -- someone who had never owned a computer of his own -- to become interested in computer graphics, attend community college, earn an associate's degree in computer systems engineering (CSE), and start his own information technology (IT) business. Also, see the many roles a CSE professional can play, from systems administrator to IT director.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Engineering Technology: Value Engineer

    Learn about the career opportunities available with a degree in engineering, in this video adapted from Pathways to Technology. Gina Ferrera, the community college graduate featured in this video, is a value engineer, and her work on night-vision goggles helps people see in the dark. Gina is responsible for improving her company's products, while improving quality and reducing costs. She explains why she went to college, decided to study engineering, and then work in telecommunications. Also, Gina talks about why she enjoys her job and her chosen field.

    Grades: 9-13+
  • GPS/GIS Technology: Training & Careers

    In this video adapted from Pathways to Technology, you’ll learn how geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS) are changing the ways professionals, in many fields, make decisions about their businesses. GPS/GIS technology is used in farming, emergency management, environmental resource work, and city planning. With GPS/GIS, any kind of flow that needs to be studied, from traffic to crop yields to pollutants, can be tracked, mapped, and analyzed.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Information Technology: Training & Careers

    In this video excerpted from Pathways to Technology, you'll learn about the wide range of jobs that an information technology (IT) degree can make possible. From PCs to smartphones to cars, almost every tool we use today has computer technology embedded in it. The IT specialist is the person who keeps those computers operating and finds ways to make them run faster and more smoothly, so we can all get our work done.

    Grades: 9-13+