Books and Magazines for Teaching ITGS

This wider reading section details books I have read, enjoyed, and found to be useful resources for teaching ITGS. Although these texts are not designed specifically for the ITGS syllabus, they make valuable classroom references, help students who want to go into more detail about certain topics, and are excellent for encouraging wider background reading. The books are divided into several sections:

  • Classroom reference books contains textbooks that are useful classroom resources for ITGS teachers and students
  • Extended reading contains ITGS-related reading, for teachers and students with a more general interest in technology
  • Books for the ITGS Project details books to help students create websites, databases, and other practical projects
  • Magazines contains print and electronic magazines which are a good source of ITGS related news articles and features.
  • Lego Mindstorms books details books and guides for using the Lego Mindstorms NXT and EV3 robots in classes and clubs

Classroom Reference Books

Discovering Computers book cover

Discovering Computers 2018

by Gary Shelly and Misty E. Vermaat
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Worldwide (free shipping)

Discovering Computers provides technical detail to A Gift of Fire's social and ethical depth. The book provides a technical explanation of hardware and software at a level which is perfect for ITGS. Almost all of the strand 3 topics are covered, including input and output devices, operating systems, and networks.

Where appropriate chapters include links to social and ethical issues, which tie in with strand 1 of the ITGS triangle. For example, the digital security section examines ethics and privacy closely.

Although Discovering Computers 2018 is not designed specifically for the ITGS syllabus, I have found it useful to have several copies on my class bookshelf and in the school library. My students have found the book a useful reference when studying technical parts of the ITGS course.


Updated: 2014-11-07
Artificial Intelligence book cover

Artificial Intelligence: The Basics

by Kevin Warwick
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Worldwide (free shipping)

A good reference book for teachers of the Higher Level Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Expert Systems topic. A particularly useful section is 'Classical AI', which has clear explanations of expert systems, basic logic, and fuzzy logic that should help students and teachers better understand this area.

Others areas are somewhat less useful for ITGS students; although the penultimate chapter is titled 'robots', it heavily focuses on the artificial intelligence routines used to control robots and is above the level required for ITGS. Nevertheless, this final chapter, Sensing the World, has clear explanations of image processing and computer vision techniques that are clear and helpful (image processing came up in a recent Paper 1 exam).
Updated: 2014-11-07
Ethics and Technology

Ethics and Technology: Controversies, Questions, and Strategies for Ethical Computing

by Herman Tavani
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Ethics & Technology contains many great examples of controversial issues that arise from the development of new technologies. My students find it slightly more accessible than A Gift of Fire and it also has some excellent example arguments that are useful for students who are learning debating skills.

Another good aspect is that, being published in 2013, the book contains the most up to date examples of any of the reference works here, including WikiLeaks and Net Neutrality.


Updated: 2015-03-06
Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know

Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know

by Peter Friedman and Allan Singer
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Cybersecurity and Cyberwarfare provides a clear explanation of the types of Internet and computer-based threats that can face countries. Friedman and Singer do a good job of explaining not only the potential damage that could be done by cyberintrusions, but also how technology can - as is - being used as a weapon of war by powers such as the US (Stuxnet is covered in detail). There is also a good discussion of why it is so hard to defend computers and infrastructure against cyber attacks.

The book focuses primarily on miltiary (Politics and Government) but many of the issues and problems are equally applicable to the realm of Business and Employment, and the examples are an excellent basis for discussions about the future of cyberwarfare and the ethics of using technology in this way.


Updated: 2015-03-06
NASA Mars Rovers manual

NASA Mars Rovers Manual: 1997-2013 (Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity)

by David Baker
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

This great 'Workshop manual' contains a lot of technical information about the Mars rovers (Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity) which is related to the ITGS HL Robotics topic. There is a wealth of information relating to the rovers' hardware, input and output devices, and communication equipment. Written with technical detail, these sections give students a chance to see real life robotic technology in action (did you know Curiosity has 2GB of flash memory?). A great addition to the ITGS classroom library.


Updated: 2015-07-29
Socialnomics book cover

Socialnomics (Second Edition)

by Erik Qualman

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Socialnomics provides a high level overview of how social media has affected our lives in several areas - particularly business, leisure, and politics.

Some of the points raised in the book may be familiar to ITGS teachers (such as the value of personal recommendations to our online shopping choices, or the importance of a business engaging with its customers on social media in two way conversation), but the book is very clearly written and my students found it very accessible (and the topics and ideas were new to many of them). This is one of the few books where I have used short extracts as whole class stimulus material in preparation for a lesson or discussion.

It's nice to see the book takes a slightly different angle on some familiar topics. For example when covering Obama's use of social media, it also examines the knock-on effect on TV media, who had to change the way they broadcast to compete with social media. Most of the reporting I have seen previously has focused on the political angle of these changes, so it is nice to see a change in perspective.

Overall Socialnomics is a very accessible book that clearly links with the ITGS syllabus and is easy and entertaining to pick up and read. A really worthy addition to the classroom shelf.


Updated: 2017-01-15

Books for the ITGS Project

These books can help students learn the complex skills required for the ITGS internal assessment project.
Creating a website: The Missing Manual book cover

Creating a Website: The Missing Manual

by Matthew MacDonald
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

This book introduces students to HTML and enough CSS to help them create good looking web sites. The book is not a series of tutorials, so it will still need to be used with a series of well planned lessons. As a reference book it is clearly laid out, making it very accessible for students. One thing I particularly like is that it often points out common mistakes and things to remember when designing sites (such as browser compatibility and different screen sizes.

A separate book, CSS: The Missing Manual, goes into more advanced CSS, but I recommend you buy Creating a website first because it will probably fulfil all of your students' needs.
Updated: 2014-11-07
HTML and CSS book cover

HTML and CSS: Design and Build Websites

by John Duckett
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Worldwide (free shipping)

This book is an excellent HTML and CSS reference full of working examples. Rather than cover the entire HTML/CSS from start to finish, the book is divided into chapters based on different aspects of web pages: text, images, lists, video, and so on.

The page layout is very attractive and accessible. Images and code samples take up most of the page with short but clear explanations in the "margin". Often there are also "Results" images that show how the code looks when rendered in a web browser. This format works really well. The book's web site has code examples and a free sample chapter.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Web Designer's Idea Book book cover

The Web Designer's Idea Book, Volume 3

by Patrick McNeil
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Worldwide (free shipping)

The Web Designer's Idea Book, Volume 3: Inspiration from Today's Best Web Design Trends, Themes and Styles (to give it its full title) contains examples from over six hundred web sites to inspire web designers. These are conveniently divided by design style and purpose, making it easy to find suitable ideas.

The book is not a web design tutorial (in fact, it contains relatively little text), but is a very useful book for students who are creating a web site for their ITGS project. There are also two previous volumes containing even more ideas.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Access the Missing Manual book cover

Access 2010: The Missing Manual

by Matthew MacDonald
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Worldwide (free shipping)

This book is a very helpful guide for students completing ITGS projects using Microsoft Access. The book covers many topics that students typically enquire about, including making queries that alter data, report design, and creating menu systems using forms. As with Creating a Web Site (above), the content is creating organised and presented, with plenty of examples and screenshots to guide readers. The web site also features downloadable examples that go along with the explanations in each chapter.

There is also an edition for Access 2007.
Updated: 2014-11-07

Extended Reading

The extended reading section details books for those with a general interest in computing and information technology. In many cases they relate to topics covered in ITGS, but they are not focused on the social impacts or ethical issues of IT as defined by the ITGS syllabus. However they can make interesting additions to a classroom or school library for enthusiastic readers.
Ghost in the Wires book cover

Ghost in the Wires: My Adventures as the World's Most Wanted Hacker

by Kevin D. Mitnick
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: Ghost in the Wires is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

Written by Kevin Mitnick (who also wrote The Art of Deception and The Art of Intrusion, below), Ghost in the Wires takes a different approach to his more 'instructional' tomes. An autobiography of sorts, Ghost in the Wires details Mitnick's escapades during the 1990s, a time when he freely compromised hundreds of computer systems and was pursued by authorities across the world. On his way he uses a variety of techniques, from social engineering to exploiting software vulnerabilities.

Ghost in the Wires is excellent extended reading for those interested in computer security or true crime stories.


Updated: 2017-11-10
Zero Day book cover

Zero Day

by Mark Russinovich
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: Zero Day is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

Zero Day deals with what some experts believe is a major threat to modern societies - a serious cyber-attack on governments and national infrastructure. Although a work of fiction, Zero Day's portrayal of computer failures - from the controls of an international airliner to a hospital's database - make it easy to see how reliant we are on computers and how vulnerable systems make tempting targets for terrorist groups.

At the same time, Zero Day is a very well written thriller that should engage a teenage audience right to the end. The book avoids the unrealistic cliches found in a lot of "cyber fiction" and as such is very useful extended reading for ITGS students interested in IT security or the Politics and Government strand.


Updated: 2017-11-10
The Art of Deception book cover

The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security

by Kevin D. Mitnick and William L. Simon.
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: The Art of Deception is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

The Art of Deception, by hacker-turned-security consultant Kevin Mitnick, is a collection of short stories and detailed examples explaining how humans are often the weakest link in the IT security chain. The book's 16 chapters cover social engineering techniques from phishing emails and websites, to malware, fake phone calls, and impersonation. 

Most of the stories in The Art of Deception are highly relevant to ITGS students, relating strongly to the social and ethical issues of security, authentication, and policies. Mitnick's style is clear and accessible, with key language and points highlighted, and the book's structure makes it easy to quickly dip in and read one or two stories. ITGS students or teachers with even a passing interest in computer security should find it a worthy read. Click here for a short review.


Updated: 2017-11-10
The Cuckoo's Egg book cover

The Cuckoo's Egg: Tracking a Spy through the Maze of Computer Espionage

by Cliff Stoll
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle  | Worldwide (free shipping)

In The Cuckoo's Egg, Cliff Stoll tells the true story of how an investigation into a 75 cent accounting error at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in California led him to track a computer hacker across the globe, into a world of money, drugs, and computer espionage.

Unravelling the story like a thriller, Stoll clearly explains the details of how the hacker managed to gain access to machine after machine, how he searched for top secret government files, and why it was so hard to trace him. With "cyber-warfare" and "cyber-terrorism" being at the top of many Western countries' agendas, the themes raised in The Cuckoo's Egg are as relevant today as ever. Well recommended for anyone with an interest in networks, security, or hacking. Click here for a short review.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Predator book cover

Predator: The Remote-Control Air War over Iraq and Afghanistan: A Pilot's Story

by Matthew Martin
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle  | Worldwide (free shipping)

As the title suggests, Predator: A Pilot's Story tells the story of Matthew J. Martin, an air force Captain who flew Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) on hundreds of missions over Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout the book Martin gives an insight into how these drones work, and how this technology has contributed to the modern battlefield. Along the way he addresses several related ethical issues, including suggestions that drone pilots are less "involved" in the battle, and allegations that drone attacks have resulted in serious civilian casualties.

Students with an interest in information technology and the military should find this an interesting and informative read, with clear links to ITGS and social/ethical issues.
Updated: 2014-11-07
The Art of Intrusion book cover

The Art of Intrusion: The Real Stories Behind the Exploits of Hackers, Intruders and Deceivers

by Kevin D. Mitnick
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Like The Art of Deception above, Mitnick's The Art of Intrusion deals with examples of computer crime - in this case, with a strong emphasis on hacking. Unlike the previous book, the examples in The Art of Intrusion are all real life cases, broken down and analysed so the reader can understand how they were perpetrated and how they could have been prevented. The examples cover hacking motivated by ideology, finance, and curiosity, which tie in perfectly to the ITGS 'security' social / ethical issue.

Like a lot of IT and computer science teachers, I find students often ask "How do people hack into computer systems?". This book provides clear real life answers to that question.
Updated: 2014-11-07
America the Vulnerable book cover

America the Vulnerable: Inside the New Threat Matrix of Digital Espionage, Crime, and Warfare

by Joel Brenner
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: America the Vulnerable is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

American the Vulnerable examines the potential impact of cyber-warfare and cyber-terrorism on the United States. The book covers tactics that could be used to attack American computers, including hacking, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, and spyware.

Brenner also examines the difficulty of addressing these threats. Isolating sensitive computers from a network, for example, is good practice. However, it raises new threats we might never have considered - such as USB flash drives loaded with malware at the point of manufacture. Ironically, Brenner says we know that many of these threats are real because the US has tried them against its own enemies.

America the Vulnerable is a good read for anybody interested in computer security and cyber-warfare / cyber-terrorism. Although it initially appears slightly paranoid, by the end its veracity is quite convincing.


Updated: 2017-11-10
The Accidental Billionaires book cover

The Accidental Billionaires

by Ben Mezrich
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

The Accidental Billionaires tells the story of the creation of Facebook and its founders Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin (the film The Social Network was later based on Mezrich's work). The book covers the social network from its early foundations, which are surrounded by controversy and allegations of stolen ideas, to its success as a global mega-brand.

The Accidental Billionaires is not a serious or academic history of Facebook, but is written more as a thriller. However, it makes interesting ITGS related reading, and I imagine teenage readers would probably enjoy it particularly. Click here for a short review.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Blown to Bits book cover

Blown to Bits: Your Life Liberty, and Happiness after the Digital Explosion

by Hal Abelson, Ken Ledeen, and Harry Lewis

Blown to Bits examines the impact of the digital revolution on modern society, examining issues from digital privacy and encryption and freedom of speech online. The book features many modern and well researched examples, and the authors do a good job of weaving these together in clear and easily readable language.

The style of the book make it useful as a classroom reference resource, allowing students and the teacher to quickly locate examples of issues being discussed.

Blown to Bits is available as a hard cover version, a Kindle version, and as a PDF from the book's web site. The ITGS News blog has a more detailed review of the book.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Wired for War book cover

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century

by P. W. Singer
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle Edition | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: The Wired for War is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

In Wired for War, Singer examines how robots are used on today's battlefields, and asks how they might be used in the future. In addition to providing examples of cutting edge robotics, Singer describes the technical challenges involved in creating such machines, and discusses in detail the ethical issues raised by using technology to kill.

This book is quite easy to 'dip in' at chapters that interest the reader, and quite a few of my students have found this interesting reading.

The hard cover version I have seems to be unavailable now, but there is a paperback version and a Kindle Edition, though the latter is more expensive. The author also has a website.


Updated: 2017-11-10
Dark Pools book cover

Dark Pools: The Rise of the Machine Traders and the Rigging of the U.S. Stock Market

by Scott Patterson
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle  | Worldwide (free shipping)

Dark Pools tells the story of the sudden, unstoppable rise of artificial intelligence software among stock traders - and the world-changing impacts on global economics. Patterson charts the young, tech-savvy traders who saw an opportunity to use computer software to replace the slow, inefficient, and sometimes downright corrupt human traders in stock exchanges across the world. In doing so, they changed stock trading forever, developing high-speed algorithms that could automatically react to market swings in milliseconds - and buy or sell accordingly, and developing 'bots' that looked for loop holes in the systems.

Dark Pools clearly relates to ITGS, particularly the themes of being overly dependent on computers and creating intelligent software which can escape the control of even its creators. It is not necessary to read the book cover-to-cover to grasp the essential points Patterson is trying to make (indeed the storytelling is a bit dry in places), but the implications of many sections of the book are genuinely frightening and would make good examples for classroom use when teaching artificial intelligence.

Note: Dark Pools contains quite a large amount of bad language.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Colossus book cover

Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Code-breaking Computers

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

As the name suggests, Colossus: The secrets of Bletchley Park's code-breaking computers concentrates on the development of Colossus, the world's first electronic digital computer, in order to break German encryption during World War 2. The book includes some history of Enigma and earlier machines such as the bombes which were developed to aid codebreaking efforts.

Alan Turing, Enigma, and Bletchley Park are quite well known names, but this books reveals the numerous other people who made significant contributions. It also has worked examples of the technical processes involved in the Lorenz cipher and the codebreaking processes. Although the book is of limited relevance to ITGS, students with a keen interest in the area should find it very interesting.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Kingpin book cover

Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground

by Kevin Poulsen
Amazon.com | Amazon UK (also on Kindle) | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: Kingpin is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

Kingpin: How One Hacker Took Over the Billion-Dollar Cybercrime Underground by Kevin Poulsen is the true story of Iceman (real name Max Butler), a computer hacker who became a notorious cyber criminal in the late 1990s and early 2000s, stealing thousands of credit card numbers and other sensitive data. The book reads like a thriller as it details the underground world of Internet 'carding' forums, the rivalry between criminals, and the FBI's attempts to infilitrate them and bring them to justive.

Kingpin features clear explanations of hacking attacks (many of which were apparently rather easy), which should feed the appetite of any ITGS student interested in this topic.


Updated: 2014-11-11
Rogue Code book cover

Rogue Code

by Mark Russinovich
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: Rogue Code is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

Rogue Code is the third book in Mark Russinovich's series about cyber-crime and cyber-terrorism (the first is Zero Day). Fictional computer security expert Jeff Aiken returns to deal with a potential security breach at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which rapidly turns into a cat-and-mouse pursuit linked to large criminal gangs intend on performing an electronic "bank heist". One of the strengths of Russinovich's books is his realism and accuracy, which has been praised by many reviewers. At no time while reading the novel does anything that Aiken encounters seem unrealistic or even far-fetched. This is a great book for extended reading about the topic of Politics & Government and cyber-terrorism.


Updated: 2017-11-10
Who Controls the Internet?

Who Controls the Internet?

by Jack Goldsmith and Tim Wu
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: Who Controls the Internet? is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World discusses the challenges that arise with the rapid spread of the Internet and the benefits and drawbacks for citizens, corporations, and governments. The book covers the technical details essential to understand the nature of information on the Internet, and then discusses specific examples of government or corporate attempts at control. The examples include the rise of file sharing in the late 1990s and the Chinese government's ongoing crackdown on online dissidents. Each case study is presented with clear examples, and throughout the book ITGS social and ethical issues are raised, including globalization, equality of access, and surveillance.


Updated: 2017-11-10
Scoring Points: How Tesco Continues to Win Customer Loyalty

Scoring Points: How Tesco Continues to Win Customer Loyalty

by Clive Humby, Terry Hunt, Tim Phillips
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Tesco's Club Card is perhaps one of the best known loyalty schemes in the UK. This book explains how the project was devised and successfully implemented. Written by two key players in the project - Clive Humby and Terry Hunt - the book does tend to focus more on a business and marketing angle. However, reading between the lines it is clear how vast quantities of data can be utilised for effective decision making.

I have included the book here because there are many examples that could be useful for the 2015 ITGS case study - Asociacion de Supermercados Independientes: An Investigation into Big Data.


Updated: 2015-02-23
The Humanoids book

The Humanoids

by Jack Williamson
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

In the future, humanoid robots become ever more common and - in their role as humankind's guardians and protectors - take over most of the jobs performed by people. Although not as directly related to the ITGS social and ethical issues as many of the books here, The Humanoids is a thought-provoking story about human-machine interaction, what it means to be human, and runaway technology. It is also interesting to compare Williamson's view of the future (The Humanoids was written in 1947) with our rapidly developing advances in robotics technology.


Updated: 2015-01-06
SpyChips book

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

by Katherine Albrecht
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | 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
Rise of the Robots book

Rise of the Robots

by Martin Ford
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: Rise of the Robots is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

This book, full of up to date examples from the world of robotics, fits in very well with the Business and Employment, Education, and Healthcare topics in strand 2 of the ITGS triangle.

As a bonus, Rise of the Robots is available as a free audio book with a trial of Audible. Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the audio book - a very worthwhile deal.

Updated: 2017-11-10
Book - No Place to Hide

No Place to Hide

by Glenn Greenwald
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle Edition | Worldwide (free shipping)

Update: No Place to Hide is now available as a free audio book when you sign up for a free Audible trial (US or UK customers only). Even if you cancel the trial, you get to keep the books.

Glenn Greenwald was the first journalist to break the story of Edward Snowden, back in 2013. No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State tells the story of secretive meetings arranged with almost paranoid levels of security, of hiding in a Hong Kong hotel room, and of the constant fear of the authorities closing in.

By now the Snowden revelations are well known, but as the 'original' journalist Greenwald is able to provide first person insight into many issues which connect directly with the ITGS syllabus. Privacy, security, surveillance, and the balance between them is a classic debate topic, and one for which No Place to Hide makes ideal background reading.

You can read a longer view on ITGS News


Updated: 2017-11-10

Lego Mindstorms NXT Robots

I have used these books when teaching students how to use the Lego Mindstorm robots, both as part of the ITGS Higher Level robotics topic, and as part of school extra-curricular clubs. You can find more resources related to Lego robots on the Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Expert Systems page.

Note about NXT versions: the version of the Mindstorms kits I have used are the Mindstorms NXT 2.0 retail version ( kit 8547) and the EV3 retail version ( kit 31313). Both NXT and EV3 are available in educational versions which can generally be used with these books, but there may be occasions when you need to use slightly different bricks from the instructions.
Lego Mindstorms EV3 book cover

The Lego Mindstorms EV3 Laboratory

by Daniele Benedettelli
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK) | Worldwide (free shipping)

Building and programming instructions are presented for five robot models in this black and white book which follows in very much the same vein as The NXT Discovery Book and The NXT Inventor's Book. As with previous books in the series, the early chapters contained detailed explanations of the Mindstorms programming software, from the basic blocks to advanced functions of the mathematics block. The additional challenges ('Experiments') from the NXT Inventors guide also make a welcome return: these offer students extra programming challenges related to the current robot being built.

The EV3 Laboratory offers a solid range of activities and instructions for students of high school age. The similarity to previous titles in the series means some material is virtually duplicated, but that said this is a worthy update to cover the new EV3 bricks and software functionality.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Lego Mindstorms Discovery book cover

The LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots

by Laurens Valk
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK) | Worldwide (free shipping)

The Lego Mindstorms Discovery book introduces students to building and programming Lego robots. No programming experience is necessary as the book starts with the basics. Sections include building basic robots to follow pre-programmed routes, using sensors to navigate, and advanced programming.

The build instructions are clear and easy to follow, while the tasks increase in difficulty as just the right pace. The book features instructions for a total of 8 large robots.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Lego Mindstorms NXT book cover

The Unofficial LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT 2.0 Inventor's Guide

by David Perdue and Laurens Valk
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK) | Worldwide (free shipping)

The Unofficial NXT Inventor's Guide is similar in style to the ilar in style to the NXT Discovery Book above. The book starts with the basics of programming robots using the NXT-G software (this information is very similar to the information in the Discovery book), then discusses several topics including building robots with gears. The most interesting part of the book is the Projects section which has clear building instructions for 6 robots.

Although I prefer the robots in this book to those in the Discovery Book, the approach in the Discovery Book is probably better for students, as it uses lots of small challenges ("Discoveries") to test them and keep them interested. I wish the Inventor's Guide also did this. Nevertheless, this book is a useful and interesting addition and your students will certainly enjoy building the robots featured in it.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Lego Mindstorms NXT Mayan Adventure book cover

LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT: The Mayan Adventure

by James Floyd Kelly
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Kindle (US) | Kindle (UK) | Worldwide (free shipping)

The Mayan Adventure takes a different approach to Lego robotics - instead of merely providing building instructions, it sets readers challenges based around the central story of explorers in a Mayan tomb. Each of the five challenges has a clear planning stage, building stage (though students are encouraged to create their own designs), and programming stage. The difficulty level is probably a bit low for ITGS students, and more suited to younger students and Lego robotics clubs .Lego robotics clubs .

There is a sequel to this book called The King's Treasure, which follows a similar pattern (though I don't have a copy of my own yet).
Updated: 2014-11-07
Lego Mindstorms power programming book cover

LEGO Mindstorms NXT Power Programming: Robotics in C

by John C. Hansen
Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Worldwide (free shipping)

Power Programming: Robotics in Camming: Robotics in C is a book for the more advanced Lego Mindstorms user. Rather than use the graphical programming environment that comes with the robots, it focuses on the NBC (Next Byte Codes) and NXC (Not eXactly C) programming languages. These offer a more familiar environment for users with prior programming experience.

Unlike the other books here, Power Programming does not include tasks or tutorials; instead it is a categorised reference. This makes it a very useful reference for people who use this language and have plenty of their own Lego robots building ideas.
Updated: 2014-11-07

Technology Magazines

These magazines are sources of ITGS-related news articles and in-depth features, useful for classroom discussion. Often they are suitable (in edited-down form) for Paper 2 news articles too.
Wired magazine cover

Wired Magazine

Print edition | Kindle edition | iPad edition | Nook edition
Wired Magazine regularly features technology related articles that are relevant to the ITGS course, and others that may provide interesting wider reading for teachers and students. Print and electronic subscription options are available.

I would strongly recommend you check out the Wired web site too, as it also contains very useful articles.
Updated: 2014-11-07
Atlantic magazine cover

The Atlantic magazine

Print edition | Kindle edition
The Atlantic is another source of really good, in-depth ITGS-related articles. Many of the features are quite long, but they usually cover the social impacts on a variety of stakeholders, and are great for starting classroom discussions. The magazine is available in print and digital editions.

You should also check out the web site.
Updated: 2014-11-07