21 Things - Basics

Gold Quest-Valuable Communication Tools

1. Basics


In one of the previous Quests you looked at some problems and potential dangers with email. Review your document periodically and add or delete things to keep it current and meaningful. Now let's look at the benefits of email. 

I Can Statement

  • utilize a chart, table or spreadsheet to display data and information


 1. Do some research. Visit Historical accounts to see photos of the first computing devices and learn more like this:

  • The first computer was invented by Charles Babbage in the mid 1800’s. The first ones were mechanical machines. The first binary computer was in 1938. The first electronic computer was called ‘Colossus’ and was developed to decrypt secret German codes during World War II. 
  • The first commercial computers appeared in Britain in the 1950’s, ‘Leo’ ran a regular routine office job.
  • The first one in the U.S. was UNIVAC for the census bureau. These still used vacuum tubes like in old radios.
  • Development of the microchip (integrated circuit) was an enormous invention for computing. These were in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This advance made small computers possible. Some of the first companies: Intel, Texas Instruments, and AT&T.
  • The first eMail was invented in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson. The first email was sent between two computers sitting next to each other in the same room. Ray said he invented it, "Mostly because it seemed like a neat idea."
  • The first home/personal computer that could be used by anybody was launched in 1977 by Apple Computers. Were your parents/guardians/relatives alive before home computers?

2. Ask an older relative or adult (older than 50) the following five questions and think about your response to the last one, then return here and click on this survey link to enter the information.

  1. How old was your parent or older relative when they used their first computer?
  2. How old were you when you used your first computing device? (iPad, tablet, laptop, desktop, Internet-connected gaming device)?
  3. How old were you when you first started using email? (texting is in the next question)
  4. How old were you when you first started using texting or SMS?
  5. What is your favorite digital communication tool?
  • What percent of your awake time in a day do you think you spend using digital communication tools (texting, calling, emailing, video conferencing)?

* View the results of this survey, select this link the password is 21things.

3. Discuss what you found and the survey results in class and/or with others.

4. Create a chart, table, or spreadsheet with the following headings (whole class together):

email, text messaging (SMS), phone (voice) calls, Twitter, Instagram, Zoom,  and  additional alternatives used by classmates or families

5. Below each heading, list at least two to three benefits of each type of communication, and some of the negative or bothersome effects.

6. Create a position statement with a partner or small group, backed by examples. This might look like, "Five of us feel text messaging is the most important type of communication tool for the following reasons... It is better than the other choices because..."

Completing YOUR Quest

Complete the steps, the survey, class discussion, table or chart in steps 4- 5, and take create a position statement that you share in class or with your teacher.

Add this to your 21t4s roadmap as a bonus

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MITECS  Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students, and

ISTE Standards for Students

3. Knowledge Constructor
a. Plan and employ effective research strategies to locate information and other resources for their intellectual or creative pursuits
c. Curate information from digital resources using a variety of tools and methods to create collections of artifacts that demonstrate meaningful connections or conclusions


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