ITGS news articles are an essential part of the course, forming the basis of many classroom discussions, allowing students to practise their analysis skills, and being the core of the paper 2 exam. Here are 5 ITGS news articles from the last week with some ideas of how they fit into the ITGS syllabus.
Ransomware Wreacking Havoc in American and Canadian Hospitals
Ransomware – a form of malware which encrypts users’ files, preventing them from accessing them until they pay a ransom – is a rapidly increasing security threat. Recently several hospitals in the US and Canada have been hit. Although no critical hospital machinery has been affected (they tend not to use common operating systems like Windows), systems containing patient records and other critical medical data have been affected. One of the things that stands out is just how easily computer systems are getting infected. A great ITGS classroom activity might be to have students generate computer security advice for the ‘average’ user. This could be presented in the form of a booklet, a website, or presentation, and could highlight both the risks and the preventative measures that can be taken.
This article grabbed my attention because it is very similar to one of the specimen paper 2 exam news articles, which discussed a website used by diabetic patients to monitor their glucose levels. This technology has clearly developed somewhat since then – although still in its development stage, this system is able to treat problems rather than simply identifying them. This has many links to the health, reliability, and privacy ITGS topics. With the development of wearable technology ever-increasing, a good activity might be to ask students to devise a new application for a wearable technology – and analyse its potential social impacts (good and bad).
One of the more interesting pieces of news in the UK’s 2016 budget – the trial of driverless trucks has been given the go-ahead. The mechanism will differ somewhat from the driverless cars which have already been trialed in the US. Instead of being entirely independent, trucks will form a ‘platoon’ which will follow a lead truck driven by a human. The article raises a couple of potential problems – such as the style of the UK’s roads compared to those in the US. A good classroom exercise could be to expand this investigation and decide if students believe the government was correct to allow the testing of the vehicles.
In this news article The Atlantic reports on the rise of cyberattacks against US interests. There are some great examples of cyberattacks covered in the article which really highlight how a relatively simple action can cause large amounts of confusion and chaos. The most obvious of these was a false report – posted on the hacked Twitter feed of a news organisation – that president Obama had been injured, causing stock markets to drop rapidly as a result. Other attacks can be more complex and involve theft or destruction of private personal or business data – the article provides plenty of examples and opportunities for classroom discussion.
Free registration is required to read this article about how a new iPhone app is being used in a (relatively) large scale experiment to track patients with Parkinson’s. Doctors are planning to use the plethora of sensors available in modern smart phones to track the progress of the disease in patients. This article would be great for discussing the types of sensor hardware available and how its feedback could be interpreted. The article has many links to the Health topics and of course, raises lots of social and ethical issues.