ITGS Online

‘hanging out the dirty linen’ to delve into the ethics of IT’s role in society.

Course Info


Teacher/Facilitator: Alan Perkins


Location: Cedar 20

Dear Students and Parents,

Welcome to the academic year 0f 2007-2008! As with all of the classes that I have taught over the last eleven years, I have high expectations that the next months will be rewarding and enjoyable for everyone.


In general the course is “the study and evaluation of the impact of information technology on individuals and society” where information technology is defined as “the acquisition, processing, storage, manipulation and dissemination of digital information by computing or telecommunications or a combination of both.”


This course focuses on the study and evaluation of the impact of information technology on individuals and society. It explores the advantages and disadvantages of the use of digitised information at the local and global level. ITGS provides a framework for the student to make informed judgments and decisions about the use of information technology within social contexts. ITGS shares methods of critical investigation and analysis with other social sciences and also considers the ethical questions found in the study of philosophy. Students come into contact with IT on a daily basis because it is so pervasive in the world in which we live. This widespread use of IT inevitably raises important questions about social and ethical issues that shape our society of today. ITGS offers a systematic study of these issues, whose range is such that they fall outside the scope of any other single discipline.

The course covers social and ethical issues related to the use of IT, such as security of information, authenticity and policies and standards. It also focuses on IT systems in a social context, where students will take a closer look at the hardware requirements of IT systems; have a look at a broad coverage of different software applications; make a study of communication systems such as the Internet and a look at integrated systems such as robotics and artificial intelligence. All these areas under study will be linked to the impact IT has had on business and employment, education, health, arts, entertainment and leisure, science and the environment and politics and the government.

Over the course of the class, students will be exposed to the following applications among others: Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe In-Design, Google Earth, Google Sketch-Up, Adobe Dreamweaver, Audacity etc.


  • Intended audience: IB students – Grade 11 and 12
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Credits awarded: One Credit per year for a two year course


External Assessment – Consists of 3 examination papers:

  • Paper 1 – consists of 4 short answer questions (20% – HL, 25% – SL)
  • Paper 2 – students have to answer 3 out of 4 questions (HL) or 3 from 6 (SL), which will be directly related to the impact of IT on society (35% – HL, 45% – SL)
  • Paper 3 – consists of one long question related to a case study (25% – HL only)

Internal Assessment

  • A portfolio consisting of 3 pieces of written work each piece analysing the social and ethical issues of a particular news article relating to an IT system with one piece extended by students interviewing stakeholders and commenting on their point of view (20% – HL only)
  • A project consisting of three parts (product, report and log book) which will produce a solution to a problem, with a written report on how it was produced and a log book to chronologically document the steps taken (30% – SL only)


  • Develop an understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of new technologies as methods of expanding our knowledge of the world at the local and global level
  • Promote understanding of the social significance of information technology for individuals, communities and organisations
  • Analyse and evaluate the ethical considerations arising from the widespread use of information technology at the local and global level
  • Recognise that people can hold diverse opinions about the impact of information technology on individuals and societies


  • Understand and critically examine the global impacts of IT developments
  • Demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the social and ethical implications of IT systems and developments at the local, global and national level
  • Analyse and evaluate the social and ethical implications of IT developments
  • Analyse and evaluate relevant examples of the global impact of IT in a portfolio of individually researched studies
  • Express ideas clearly and coherently with supporting arguments and examples
  • Design and apply IT solutions to a problem set in a social context through a project
  • Demonstrate an ability to synthesise and reflect on ideas
  • Demonstrate an ability to project the global impacts of IT developments
  • Research, analyse and evaluate relevant material and examples including ‘real-life’ global and local interactionsiconswebtools.png


All students will be discovering a variety of new collaborative web-based tools including Google Docs, Social Book-marking and Weblog Aggregators including Bloglines. These are used to develop practical skills that they can take beyond this course into their working environments that facilitate teamwork and sharing.


wikiitgsonline.pngAlthough the course is an IT course it is really about conversation around such issues as: – privacy, identity, power, equality, globalisation and this is reflected in the way the course will use e-learning techniques to enable conversation and publishing of discussions on the ethical and social issues.

The main web tools we will use are the ITGS weblog and wiki. Initially information about the class can be found on our ITGS weblog here:, along with conversations and what is happening each week in both ITGS years. Please be part of this conversation and leave comments too. The wiki will be developed during the course to act as an anywhere/anytime course and revision guide for all ITGS students.


1. Computer Confluence, 7th edition, George Beekman and Michael J. Quinn

2. Gift of Fire, 2nd Edition by Sara Baase

3. Wired magazine

4. Other newspaper and magazine articles should be read regularly

5. In order to facilitate the transfer and storage of large files, students are strongly recommended to purchase a flash drive of at least 256 megabytes in size as well as using the FirstClass facility at home and school.

6. Students should also always have 1) a pen or pencil; 2) paper; 3) two separate loose-leaf folders – one in which to keep extra paper, classroom notes, handouts, and other material, and the second to keep all work related to portfolios and news analysis. These items should be brought to the class each day.


Students are instructed in a variety of ways: videos, readings, document activities, quizzes, writing assignments, and short lectures. The primary means of instruction is the seminar where everyone (teacher and students) are responsible for the learning. Students should have good manners and respect other students and their opinions.


Students are expected to complete all assignments and to turn them in on time (the class period it is due). I will accept daily assignments via e-mail. Late work will be penalised. Students are expected to participate in class discussions. Some of these discussions are graded (Socratic seminars). Students are notified in advance when this is the case. Students are expected to ask questions and come back for extra help when they do not understand.


Attendance is taken daily. I will stay in contact with parents through progress reports and, when necessary, calls home or e-mails.


Often in ITGS, I will use movies and videos to enable and so spark conversations about ethical and social issues within Information Technology. Generally, I only show extracts of movies and programs. These are just examples below that I may show depending on time and other factors. The ITGS curriculum must look at current issues so we will also look at current video clips through online video sites like YouTube.

  • I, Robot, 2004 – Rated PG-13 for intense stylized action, examines the relationship between robots and humans
  • Modern Times, 1936 – Not rated. Charlie Chaplin’s last silent film examines humanity’s relationship to technology and its consequences
  • Hackers, 1995 – Rated PG-13 for some sexuality and brief strong language, examines the ethics behind computer hacking
  • Minority Report, 2002 – Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and drug content which examines ethical issues of using technology to solve crimes
  • The Net, 1995 – Rated PG-13 for violence, some sexuality and brief strong language, examines identify theft via computers
  • The Matrix, 1999 – Rated R for sci-fi violence and brief language, questions the role of artificial intelligence and examines the interaction of computers and reality.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey. Rated G, this classic sci-fi movie raises ethical issues concerning intelligence as the division between animal and human where technology is treated as irrelevant to the quest – literally serving as mere vehicles for the human crew, and as a shell for the immature HAL entity
  • Bladerunner, 1982 – Rated R for violence and some brief sexuality and strong language, another ethical treatment of the relationship between humans and robots, or “replicants” in this case
  • The Trap, 2006 – BBC Documentary looking at issues of how technology has affected our understanding of freedom in the modern world
  • Aaron Russo’s, Freedom to Fascism – American Documentary looking at surveillance and government control

Parents, please contact me if you have questions or concerns about the content of these movies / documentaries.


ITGS at Standard or Higher Level is highly recommended for students wishing to develop an appreciation for the changing world in which we live in and the impact ICT has had on our everyday lives. There will be some usage of different software applications with hands on experience when producing the internally assessed project. This course would benefit any student wishing to further their studies in the field of ICT, however, it will be focusing on more of the social issues and less emphasis is placed on the technical aspects of ICT.

Please also go to the ACS Egham Website to see the official ITGS Curriculum Guide.