Introduction to ITGS

ITGS is introduced to students in the first chapter of the book, explaining the social issues, impacts, and ethical issues that they will encounter throughout the ITGS course. Students are also introduced to the ITGS triangle and the skills of selecting news articles and analysing ITGS topics. Topics covered in the textbook and supported by online resources are:

  • Introduction to ITGS
  • The ITGS Triangle
  • Strand 1: Social and ethical significance
  • Strand 2: Application to specific areas
  • Strand 3: IT Systems
  • Analysing ITGS Situations
  • Analysing the OLPC laptop as an example
  • Technology versus Information Technology
ITGS news articles

Introduction to ITGS: News articles

There are literally thousands of news articles students might choose for the introduction exercises 1.2 and 1.4 in the ITGS textbook. Below are a few that I have used successfully in class. You can also read the latest ITGS news articles by following our ITGS Twitter account.

There are also a number of articles which I have used in ITGS introduction lessons in the past. Although these articles are a bit older, they highlight the diverse topics and issues that will be covered in the ITGS course. They might also be useful for introduction lessons for pre-IB students.

Updated: 2018-08-17
RSS readers

Exercise 1.3 RSS Readers

Popular RSS news readers for this exercise include Feedly and RSSOwl. You can import these ITGS news feeds for popular sites including the BBC and the New York Times.
Updated: 2014-09-29
Textbook exercise

Exercise 1.8

ITGS Guide: "On what basis can we trust "knowledge" acquired from a range of sources?"
ITGS Links: 1.1 Reliability and Integrity, 1.12 Digital Citizenship, 3.5 Internet

The BBC article Are we trapped in our own web bubbles? and Eli Pariser's TED talk 'Beware online filter bubbles' are two resources that discuss how personalised search results could limit our access to new information.

Search engines play a major role in providing access to knowledge and information. The order of the links appearing in search results therefore has a significant impact on the types of information that will be accessed by the majority of people (witness how many people only ever use the first page - or even half page - of search results). Additionally, some search engines and social media sites have started to use personalised search results, which can prioritise results that are similar to pages we have previously viewed - thus forming a so-called 'search bubble' or 'filter bubble' that might limit our exposure to new views.

Despite this, there is still some debate over just how significant the filter bubble effect is. A 2015 study of Facebook data suggested the effect was minimal or non-existent - but the study itself was quickly criticised. Filter bubbles returned to the media spotlight after political events including the election of Donald Trump and the UK Brexit vote. The Guardian attempted to examine the effect in 2018, while the University of Illinois has an interesting page examining the effect and presenting an experiment you can try for yourself.

This can be a useful starting point for exercise 1.8, and also links closely to the IB Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course.

Updated: 2018-08-17
Information technology timeline

Introduction to ITGS: Information Technology Timeline

As an introduction lesson, the objective of these tasks is to familiarise students with the components of ITGS, to get them thinking about how rapidly technology has changed in recent memory, and how these changes might affect us (social and ethical issues and impacts). This can also help students determine if ITGS really is for them!

Students are given a series of cards with the names of major IT events: they must place these in the correct order on the supplied timeline. For many students it is quite an eye-opener to see how recently many technologies developed, and to see the statistics about how many people have Internet access worldwide (this can lead to interesting discussions about ITGS social and ethical issues such as the digital divide and its causes, how the development of technology can threaten privacy, or the importance of secure and reliable IT devices). Students can then be split into pairs and complete an investigation and analysis task related to some of the events in the timeline, and divided by ITGS scenario (Business, Health, Education, etc).

Updated: 2017-10-23
Introduction to ITGS

Introduction to ITGS: Video resources

ITGS teachers often need to give an overview of the course to students, perhaps to help them make suitable IB subject choices. Helping students understand what ITGS is about can be quite difficult as there is no equivalent subject at IGCSE or MYP level. In the past I have found these 6 videos from IBM useful resources to give an indication of the varied areas, issues, and impacts that ITGS covers. Topics covered include the economic impacts of data mining in business, the health impacts of artificial intelligence systems in hospitals, the application of computer models to protect citizens from severe weather, and the impact of data analytics in reducing crime.

The ITGS textbook YouTube channel contains ITGS themed videos that may also help.

Updated: 2017-10-23
ITGS Triangle handouts

Introduction to ITGS: First lesson handouts

The ITGS Triangle and the IB Command Terms are essential resources to help get students in the "IB / ITGS mindset" from the start of the course. I give these handouts in the first ITGS lesson:
Updated: 2018-07-17

Further Reading

Below are the main sites I use with my students for ITGS news articles. As ITGS encourages students to have a global perspective on events, pursuing local newspapers (both online and offline) is a very worthwhile exercise as they often contain news articles reporting how technology can affect the local community. These can be a great opportunity for students to apply their own experience.

Students can also import this RSS feed of ITGS related news sites.
Updated: 2018-05-21
Wired magazine cover

Wired Magazine

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: 2018-07-17
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: 2018-08-17
Search engine privacy activity

Search engines and privacy

This lesson examines some of the privacy issues related to the data collection performed by most major search engines. Students will examine the infamous AOL data release and analyse their own web histories. This is a useful lesson for studying databases and the Internet, but I have also used it as a standalone lesson when introducing the ITGS course to pre-IB students. The slides for the lesson can be downloaded from SlideShare.

Updated: 2014-11-11
ITGS Podcasts

ITGS Podcasts

Podcasts can be a great way for ITGS students to stay up to date with the latest technology news and issues. While many podcasts simply cover the latest releases and device udpates, several feature more in-depth analysis, discussion, and social-ethical impacts which directly relate to the ITGS syllabus.

  • NPR The NPR technology podcast focuses on in-depth discussion of technology issues, which is very useful for ITGS. The very useful archive has a back-catalog of all podcasts.
  • Spark is perfect for ITGS, focusing on the impact of technology on society and culture. Each episode is around an hour, but is also broken down into shorter, snappy extra stories of around ten minutes each.
  • BBC Click contain shorter, ITGS relevant stories in every episode. The Home tab contains the 'radio' style show, while the podcast contains separate downloadable content - so check out both.
  • Security Now! A more specialised podcast, which tends to be quite long but covers a wide range of security related issues from exploits to social engineering. The great thing about this podcast is that it is always very up-to-date.

Updated: 2018-08-17