I’m trying to give you one piece of ITGS revision help each day as you approach the exams. This, of course, should be in addition to your own revision which you should already be doing by now. Today, here are 5 ITGS topics which I find students often forget about (in no particular order).
Whenever an IT system is introduced or changed, people might need training to use it. This applies to all organisations, from large a business switching to a new CRM system, to a school giving new interactive whiteboards to teachers. If the teachers aren’t trained to use the whiteboards, they will probably go unused, and the investment might be wasted. Training is also important because people might be uncomfortable using an IT system, or might fear that it will replace them and they will lose their jobs (de-skilling). While this might be true, a person can be trained to do a slightly different job (re-skilling).
2. Equality of Access and the Digital Divide
When we discuss this topic in class, many people mention how (lack of) money can cause a digital divide. This is true, but it is definitely not the only cause. A digital divide may exist if there is:
- A lack of money to buy hardware / software
- A lack of associated infrastructure (power, Internet)
- A lack of skills to use the system (training)
- A lack of language (esp English) to use the software
- A lack of accessibility features
- Intervention to prevent full access (e.g. government filtering of the Internet)
3. Policies & Laws
I think these are often forgotten because they are not “physical” solutions. However, policies can make great solutions in paper 2 criterion D. Just remember, if you suggest a policy as a solution, make sure it is realistic, give detail of the clauses it should contain and, like all solutions, evaluate it. A common problem with policies is that they can be hard to enforce; they don’t actually stop users doing something, they just tell them not to!
4. Copyright & Intellectual Property
With today’s ubiquitous online sharing, perhaps it is understandable that this topic is partly forgotten, partly misunderstood. Intellectual property (IP) refers to “creations of the mind” (photos, films, stories, songs), not physical property. The IP itself (the photo, film, or story) is protected by copyright law, not the physical medium (the printout, DVD, or book). You automatically own the copyright for any work you create – there is no need to register copyright. The fact that something is available online does not mean it is copyright free.
English language note: if somebody is illegally downloading copyrighted material, they are “violating copyright”, “breaking copyright”, or “committing copyright infringement“, but not “committing copyright”.
5. Psychological effects of IT
Often students include psychological impacts answers to privacy or surveillance questions, but there are other psychological effects of IT too. Here are some ideas:
- Being in constant contact via email, smart phones, social networks – how does this affect our social/work life balance? Our private life?
- The ease of communication using IT can make it very easy to send rude or angry emails or messages which we would not be willing to repeat to people face to face (and which we might later regret).
- Lack of face-to-face communication – this can be a problem in a number of areas, for example tele-working, tele-learning, and tele-health. How would you feel if you learnt from home every day, via the Internet, but never had face to face contact with your teachers or fellow students?
- Addiction problems – mobile phones, the Internet, and gaming can all cause addiction, a psychological problem with can lead to other serious impacts. In South Korea, the government has recognised the seriousness of the problem and taken measures to alleviate it.
- IT has also changed dating….