The new school year is starting for May schools, and another group of ITGS students will start the course. I always find a good way to help understand ITGS from the outset is with some contemporary news articles that they can analyse using the ITGS triangle. Here are fiveITGS news articles to start the new school year.
No, That Instagram Privacy Hoax Isn’t Real. It Never Is.
Hoaxes are ten a penny on social media. The contents of this hoax isn’t particularly relevant, but the article is an great opportunity to discuss with students why these hoaxes spread and how technology enables this. This could easily lead to deeper discussions about “Fake News” and the rapid spread of misinformation – some of which has very serious consequences. This is also a good way to link early ITGS lessons to TOK. A followup article might be Burned to death because of a rumour on WhatsApp. (Read the full article)
Meadowhall shoppers scanned in facial recognition trial
Privacy is a very commonly occurring theme in ITGS lessons, discussions, articles, and exam papers. In this article, facial recognition technology was used at a large shopping centre (mall) in the UK without the knowledge or consent of those being recorded. This is a good opportunity to discuss with ITGS students how anonymous data collection (after all, the system doesn’t know a person’s name) can still be a cause for concern (remember the How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did article from a few years ago?). This facial recognition trial is particularly relevant for ITGS HL students because the May and November 2020 ITGS case study focuses on exactly this topic. (Read the full article)
The people policing the internet’s most horrific content
Many students are used to hearing about cyber-bullying, appropriate online behaviour, and digital citizenship – education in this area has improved greatly in recent years. However this article takes a different angle – examining the people whose job it is to police online content for social media companies. Whenever a user flags content – be it a post, an image, or a video – as inappropriate, there is a good chance that the final decision will be made by a person. The psychological effects of viewing in some cases horrific material can be significant. Globalization is a major theme in ITGS, and is very relevant during this discussion – how can social media companies apply standards on a global platform where local standards vary so much? This article is also a good chance to discuss why it is hard for computers – even modern AI – to reliably distinguish between ‘appropriate’ and ‘inappropriate’ material. (Read the full article)
Trailblazers: The Future of Firefighting (video)
This is a great way to introduce ITGS students to BBC Click early in the course, hopefully with the result that they will keep watching it in future! This latest episode of the show includes technological developments in firefighting, including displays to see through smoke-filled buildings. This is a great example of a technology that students may have seen already (augmented reality), but only in less serious or ‘leisure and entertainment’ applications. (Watch the video)
A Cave Is No Place for Humans, So DARPA Is Sending In Robots
Technology is rapidly developing and there have been many advances since the ITGS syllabus was last written. This article covers some of the latest developments in robotic technology (which always seems to interest students), as well as briefly discussing previous robotic developments such as the DARPA Grand Challenge for self driving cars. This is a good opportunity to discuss how science fiction can rapidly become science fact. (Read the full article)