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 Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, 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

Internet Statistics

Internet Statistics

Internet World Stats is a good site for interesting and often surprising statistics about Internet access and use across the world. It includes pages on penetration rates, languages, and much more, which provide a useful background for study the digital divide and cultural diversity.

Other sites include statistics about the language of websites which also make interesting reading.

It is easy to assume that many or most people have Internet access. However, this is far from the truth. According to a recent report in the Telegraph, more than half the world (57%) still do not have Internet access.

How Much of the World Has Regular Internet Access? is a UN report which reveals some interesting trends - including significant gaps between the percentage of women who have Internet access globally and the percentage of men. In some areas the difference is as high as 50%.

Even in more developed countries, there can still be a digital divide: the Pew Research Center claims 15% of Americans do not have Internet access - with age and lack of finance tending to be a barrier to uptake.

Of course, as with any statistics we should be careful to understand how, when, and by whom the measurements were made, as the Internet can evolve very quickly.


Updated: 2018-06-11
Search engine privacy

Privacy issues: Search engine data

A Face Is Exposed for AOL Searcher No. 4417749 (NYTimes) is an incredibly interesting - and frightening - look at "anonymity". In short, a New York Times journalist is able to track down an interview a woman based solely on her "anonymous" search queries. This article ties in well with exercise 9-14 on page 214 of the textbook.

The data, released by AOL and concerning about 650,000 users, was quickly removed but remains available on several mirror sites - further highlighting the privacy concerns about releasing information on the Internet.
Updated: 2018-06-11
Vehicle to Vehicle communication

Vehicle to Vehicle Communication (VTV)

As the name suggests, Vehicle to Vehicle (VTV) communication allows vehicles (whether they are automated or not) they share information about the environment. This could include a vehicle warning following cars about a hazard (e.g. ice) ahead, vehicles working together to drive at the same speed to ensure smooth traffic flow, or vehicles communicating to avoid an imminent collision.

Honda V2X Communications and automated driving is a particularly good example video that shows how VTV can help protect vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. There are also numerous other VTV videos on the ITGS YouTube Channel.


Updated: 2018-06-08
Vehicle to Infrastructure (VTI) communication

Vehicle to Infrastructure (VTI) communication

Vehicle to Infrastructure communication (VTI) is one of the big issues in the case study. It is the process of vehicles (whether autonomous or not) communicating with infrastructure such as traffic lights and road signs to discover information about the environment. Vehicles can also relay requests to the infrastructure - for example, an emergency vehicle could request a smart traffic light to switch to green to facilitate its passage.

VTI is a potential economic concern because of the need to update large amounts of existing infrastucture. However, VTI can also have environmental and economic benefits by reducing idling at unnecessary traffic stops, and by encouraging vehicles to travel at the most fuel efficient speeds. This saves fuel and money, and reduces harmful vehicle emissions.

Smart Intersection Controller is a great example of this, and there are many other VTI videos on the ITGS YouTube Channel.


Updated: 2018-06-08
LIDAR visualization

LIDAR technology

LIDAR technology is often used by driverless vehicles to sense the environment around them. The technology works by emitting light pulses and measuring the time it takes for them to be reflected back to the vehicle. LIDAR is also used in remote sensing, which is part of the Environment topic in Strand 2. One of the best ways to understand how autonomous vehicles 'see' the world is to watch a visualization of LIDAR data.


Updated: 2018-06-08
Driverless vehicles and the law

Driverless vehicles and the law

Driverless vehicles is a good example of a situation where technology creates situations existing laws were not designed to deal with (we come across many of these in ITGS).

Globally

Which are the top autonomous vehicle ready countries? is a great top 20 table of countries across the world. Each is given a score based on factors including technology, infrastructure (for technology such as smart roads and Vehicle to Infrastructure communication), and legislative framework.

Global Survey of Autonomous Vehicle Regulations is a good summary of laws relating to driverless vehicles worldwide. In many cases countries have no specific laws relating to such vehicles, or they are implicitly banned by existing legislation. However, several countries have made changes in this area. Driverless Car Rules in Flux examines the situation in Japan, Singapore, and Germany.

United States

The NCSL has a good overview of the law regarding driverless vehicles in different US states. It is worth checking this site often as the legal situation changes quite frequently.

In February 2018 California moved to allow driverless cars to operate on its roads without a human backup driver being present. They would still require a human to remotely monitor the car however.

Europe

Autonomous Car Law in Europe summarises the legal situation, examining European Union laws and any changes made in individual countries.

United Kingdom

In the UK, a three year legal review will occur before driverless cars will be allowed on public roads. Driverless cars: the legal issues goes into more detail about some of the potential stumbling blocks for law makers.

China

In early 2018 China developed new regulations to catch up with the latest developments in self driving technology. Previously Beijing had allowed testing of autonomous vehicles within the region provided they met certain requirements, including the use of a human backup driver. The tests were also limited to designated roads at designated times.


Updated: 2018-06-02
Trust in self driving vehicles

Trust and autonomous driving

This excellent article and video from Intel offers great insight into a key problem of autonomous vehicles: getting humans to put their trust in machines. Although most accidents are caused by human error, getting putting to relinquish control of a vehicle is still a key challenge. This article examines some of the possible solutions to this psychological barrier.


Updated: 2018-06-01
Self driving accidents

Self-driving cars attacked by angry San Francisco residents

In an interesting development, in March 2018 the Independent reported on an increase in attacks on self driving vehicles in San Francisco. The article doesn't fully explain why people were angry with self driving cars, although this could be a good classroom discussion point.


Updated: 2018-06-01
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