Imposter Syndrome (pt. 2)

How can we design applications to combat imposter syndrome?

When To Use This Extra

This can be delivered anytime after Imposter Syndrome pt. 1 - either directly after, or with a few weeks or even months gap in between. Use the same guidance as the original lesson: if your students need a boost (and a brief coding reprieve), consider tossing this in.


This lesson is meant to serve as an add-on to any Computer Science course. It does not need a specific coding language - in fact, student computer use is not required as the entire lesson is unplugged - and follows no greater scope and sequence beyond the part one, introduction to imposter syndrome lesson. As such, it can be delivered at any point during the year. A suggestion would be to consider using this two lesson sequence to begin or end a particularly difficult topic or project, or at the end of a strenuous week.

In this lesson, students will build off of what they learned in the first lesson by now focusing on how imposter syndrome can be brought about by technologies we have come to enjoy and perhaps even rely on using. Students will reimagine technologies to remove some of these struggles and obstacles and think critically about the computational artifacts they use.

Similar to the last lesson, this lesson comes with a variety of resources - please preview and select the ones that will work the best for your classes!


Students will be able to...

  • Identify and explain social issues created by social media

  • Reimagine social media that has been adjusted to be friendly to the users

Suggested Duration

45 minutes (~1 class period)

NYS && CSTA Computing Standards

NYS Standards

  • 9-12.IC.3 Debate issues of ethics related to real-world computing technologies

  • 9-12.IC.5 Describe ways that complex computer systems can be designed for inclusivity and to mitigate unintended consequences.

CSTA Standards

  • 3B-IC-25 Evaluate computational artifacts to maximize their beneficial effects and minimize harmful effects on society

  • 3A-IC-24 Evaluate the ways computing impacts personal, ethical, social, economic, and cultural practices.


  • Imposter Syndrome - the persistent inability to believe that one's success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one's own efforts or skills.

  • Affirmation - emotional support or encouragement.

Planning Notes

This lesson can be delivered at any point during the year. A suggestion would be to consider using this lesson to begin or end a particularly difficult topic or project, or at the end of a strenuous week.

In-Person Materials:

  • Chart paper/Large paper for posters

  • Markers

  • Post-Its

Digital Materials

  • Jamboard (takes place of chart paper, markers)

  • Google Form or Classroom Assignment (takes place of post-its)



There are no formal assessments in this lesson - feel free to select checks for understanding that work for your students and could serve as a formative assessment data point.

Do Now/Warm Up (~3-7 Minutes)

Display On Board: What kinds of social media do you use? What do you like and dislike about them?

Ask students to share their thoughts and offer a brief class discussion. There are no right or wrong answers here; the goal is just to get ideas flowing about any and everything that they might enjoy or that might bother them about the social media they are using.

Class Exploration && Discussion (~12-18 minutes)

Inform students that you are continuing your lesson from last week on imposter syndrome, and this week we will be looking at external causes of imposter syndrome and brainstorming ways to make them better.

Select 2-4 articles from the resources selection and distribute them to small groups (~4, some groups may repeat articles) of students. Ask students to spend ~5-7 minutes reading the article (or a selection of the article, if it’s long) with their group members.

Once students have finished, use the following questions to discuss:

  • What, if anything, stood out to you in these articles?

  • What concerns do these articles raise?

  • How do we feel about Instagram and other social media based on these articles?

  • Do we think other social media might encounter the same social-emotional problems that Instagram has?

  • What changes do we think could be made that would help Instagram be better to its user base?

Remind students that the sort of technology they are used to using hasn’t been around for that long in the grand scheme of humanity, and its effects are things we often aren’t prepared for. However, if we enjoy using it or find parts to be redeeming or fun, we need to think critically about how we can change existing technologies/make new and better technologies that best serve everyone.

Student Activity (~15-20 minutes)

Students, in their groups or new groups you place them in, will be tasked with trying to redesign Instagram. They should draw a mock-up of what the app will look like and annotate changes that they will be making and things that will stay the same.

Each poster must address:

  • What will the new version of the app look like?

  • What are you keeping the same?

  • What are you changing?

  • Why do you think this version will be more helpful than the current version?

  • What issues do you foresee with this version?

Have students hang the posters around the room and completed a gallery walk. If you’d like, you can give each student several post-its and ask them to leave notes/feedback/questions on other groups’ posters.

Close out by applauding their ingenuity!


Ask groups to dig deeply into other apps and research - there is so much out there! This project can be as deep as they want it to be.

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