Student Projects

Life Off Autopilot

Authors: Paola Capó-García, Margaret Noble

Grade: 12th

Subjects: Computing in The Arts, English

To explore our personal relationship with technology and unpack the complex role it plays in our existence through interdisciplinary research, writing, and digital art production.

In this semester-long project, students explored their personal relationships with technology and the complex role it plays in shaping their identities and social experiences. Through interdisciplinary research, writing, and computer programming, students produced critical papers and interactive simulations designed to challenge audiences to think about their own digital consumption and its unintended and sometimes shocking consequences.

How does the user experience of digital technology change individuals physically, psychologically, socially, and economically?

  • How does social media change how we socialize?
  • Does digital technology impact attention deficit disorder in society?
  • Does remote control warfare change empathy in the military?
  • Who is in control – you or your phone?
  • Hackers: heroes or criminals? When is hacking a form of productive civil disobedience?
  • The Great Acceleration: Has the experience of time shifted due to the digital revolution?
  • How does the impact of internet image oversaturation change how we empathize with others?
  • Has society become more transparent due to rapid digital communication?
  • How has social media impacted who becomes a social influencer?
  • How does open-source thinking impact human creativity?
  • Screens in the classroom: Does digital technology improve or disrupt K-12 education?
  • Are memes constructive to improving society?
  • Is social media always a performance? If so, a performance of what?
  • Is technology an equalizer or a divider?
  • How has online shopping changed the experience of capitalism?

Interactive simulations and video games (Code class)
Art process journals (Code class)
Polished research papers (English class)
Aesthetic statements (English class)

Computer programming, visual literacy, media literacy, audience communication, critical thinking, textual analysis, research-based essay writing.

Computers, Processing (open source computer language), Photoshop.

Before this project I never really put much thought into how technology impacts people but now I am more aware of my surroundings and the devices we use. I am very proud of my project and the conversations I had with audiences regarding the negative impacts of social media.
– Belen


I was surprised to learn how vulnerable public cyber security has become due to a lack of information. My project made audiences reconsider their online habits and vulnerabilities. I am also really proud of the technical understanding I attained through computer programming.
– Isaac

I was really impressed that students tackled uncomfortable topics investigating their own technological addictions and susceptibilities to social media. It was also rewarding to support students creating interactive simulations informed and empowered by their research and visual analytical skills.

– Margaret Noble


It was so exciting to see the students’ ideas go from brainstorm stage to professional exhibition. Seeing their research essay writing skills grow throughout the semester, as well as their confidence as public speakers and critical thinkers, has been the biggest reward as a teacher. I couldn’t have asked for a better project for my first year at HTHTMA.

– Paola Capó-García