Information Technology in a Global Society

ITGS textbook cover Information Technology in a Global Society for the IB Diploma is the first textbook designed specifically for the IB ITGS course. Unlike the general computer science textbooks currently used by many ITGS teachers, this book is written specifically with the IB ITGS course requirements in mind, and covers all components of the new ITGS syllabus (first exams May 2012), including the Higher Level (HL) topics. It is fully illustrated with over 300 photographs, diagrams, and charts.

The book is available from,, and a variety of book shops.

This site supports the book with additional lesson plans, exercises, links to useful software, and other ITGS teaching resources. You can also view a detailed table of contents and download a free sample chapter.

Latest updates

Data Protection Act

Data Protection Act & Other legislation

The Data Protection Act (DPA) is a good example of data protection legislation. Although a UK-based law (the ASI case study is set in Mexico), studying the key elements of the DPA is useful to help students understand how personal data should be collected, stored, and used. As mentioned in the case study, privacy is a key concern for ASI, and as such they may want to write a privacy policy to cover how they will use Big Data.

The DPA is explained on many sites, including BBC Bitesize, Teach-ICT, and the UK government's own site,

Updated: 2015-04-17

Big Data and Discrimination

Another privacy related concern is that of price discrimination (also called 'differential pricing'). This is the process of using Big Data to determine the highest price a customer is likely to pay for a product. For example, a customer sharing articles related to the product on social media may be an indication that they are more interested in the item, and the retailer could raise the price accordingly. This could be particularly effective on websites where customers cannot see the price others are paying. The Washington Center for Equitable Growth has some more examples of this type of discrimination. Will Big Data Bring More Price Discrimination? is another short article on the topic.

Although the 2015 case study tends to discuss "bricks and mortar" supermarkets, it is reasonable to believe that online components could be included, and that some supermarkets in ASI may have or want to develop online shopping sites.

Updated: 2015-04-17

Big Data and Privacy

Specific examples of the risks of Big Data seem to be fairly thin on the ground. One of the best-known cases is described in the article How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did. This is a very interesting, quite worrying example of the type of insights retailers can glean from customer data.

Eight Problems With Big Data, written by the ACLU, gives a clear and concise summary of what it sees as the key problems - many of these relate directly to data protection legislation described further down this page.

In the ITGS case study, ASI want to collect anonymized data about their customers. However a recent report by suggests that the proliferation of data collection systems may mean that it is soon "virtually impossible" to anonymize data, as identifiable inferences can be drawn from huge data sets.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) regularly publishes new articles about the privacy risks of Big Data.

Updated: 2015-04-17

Image, audio, and text compression

The Computer Science Field Guide from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, has a very comprehensive section covering image, video, audio, and text compression. It is written for high school students and includes plenty of clear examples, images, and even interactive applets to help students understand all aspects of compression. It goes into more detail than is strictly necessary for the ITGS syllabus, but nevertheless is still an excellent resource.

Updated: 2015-04-16
Tesco Clubcard video

How we revolutionised customer loyalty

This is a revealing video interview with Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby, the couple responsible for the huge successful of Tesco's Clubcard loyalty card scheme. The interview addresses the history of the project as well as the opportunities and challenges offered by Big Data. This link was very kindly shared by a fellow ITGS teacher.

Updated: 2015-04-15
Big Data Infographics

Big Data Infographics for the ITGS case study

5 Big Data infographics for the ITGS Case Study contains links to useful infographics that cover some of the basic concepts relating to Big Data. From data sources and data volume to data personalisation, these infographics should be a brief refresher activity for students who have properly studied the 2015 case study.

Updated: 2015-04-07
SpyChips book

Spychips: How Major Corporations and Government Plan to Track Your Every Purchase and Watch Your Every Move

by Katherine Albrecht | | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips are much more than a simple contactless version of a bar code. Small (and therefore able to be embedded discretely in products), wireless, and capable of storing data, they are becoming more and more popular with businesses, and more and more of a concern for privacy advocates. In SpyChips Albrecht discusses in detail the privacy issues RFID chips rise, particularly when combined with other technologies such as data mining and "Big Data". The book is full of examples of both current uses of RFID and potential future uses of the technology. Well worth a read as a great example of how technology can outpace legislation and discussion of its social impacts.

Updated: 2015-04-06
Big Data examples

Videos: Examples of Big Data in use

7 Examples of Big Data - ITGS Case Study 2015 contains videos which provide specific examples of how the power of Big Data can be harnessed by retailers to increase brand loyalty, attract customers, and improve efficiency. The videos cover a wide range of examples and data types from customer purchasing histories to GPS location data, with lots of ideas that could be applied to the Asociacion de Supermercados Independientes in the case study.

Updated: 2015-03-23
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