5 engaging videos for ITGS lesson starters

Self driving cars

Videos can be excellent classroom resources to help bring topics alive. Previously I have posted about several longer films (both free and commercial) that are useful for ITGS lessons. Recently I spent some time looking through the TED-Ed site and found a lot of useful material. These videos are very different to typical TED Talks. Instead of focusing on a speaker on stage, they feature animated graphics to support the concepts being explained. This makes them much more appealing for classroom use. Each video’s page also has links to separate ‘Think’ and ‘Dig deeper’ sections. Although not complete lessons, these section help reinforce the ideas in the video and generate discussion.

How computer memory works (Topic 3.1)

This is a straightforward video which does exactly what it says on the tin. Some of the technical details are not relevant to ITGS students (e.g. static RAM and dynamic RAM), but overall the video is useful for studying the fundamental topics of the syllabus. A companion video is How do hard drives work?


A cinematic journey through visual effects (Topic 3.6)

This video gives an overview of the development of special effects in film. From basic effects in classics such as Le Voyage dans la Lune (A Trip to the Moon) and Metropolis, to modern films such as Avatar and Inception. Although light on technical detail, the video does include some ‘behind the scenes’ style footage of the more modern films to help students see how the effects were created. As stimulation material for a discussion of film technology, this video makes an interesting lesson starter. The content can be linked to syllabus section 3.6 Multimedia / Digital media and to 2.5 Home and Leisure.


What is the World Wide Web? (Topic 3.4)

Using the analogy of apartment blocks in a city, this video explains how the World Wide Web works. This includes website addresses, web languages, and the difference between the Internet and the Web. This is a good starter video for introducing the concepts in topic 3.4 Internet.


The ethical dilemma of self-driving cars (HL Topic 3.11)

This is probably my favourite video on this list. In a modern twist of the famous Trolley Problem, the video asks how a self driving car should behave in the event of an accident. Faced with three undesirable actions – all of which involve crashing – how should the car determine the best course of action? The video then discusses the responsibilities programmers take when creating such software, and how the action of software differs from reactions of humans. A great video which links to both TOK and ITGS.


How computers translate human language (HL Topic 3.11)

Natural language translation is an excellent example to use in the HL Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, and Expert Systems topic. Students – particularly those in international schools – are often aware of some issues in translating one language to another. Asking them for examples of difficulties they have encountered can be a good prelude to this video. The video itself does a great job of explaining why a simple word translation does not work, why a ‘universal translator’ is so difficult to create, and how one might work. It covers a wide range of examples that definitely addresses the ‘I’ in ‘IB’.

I hope you enjoy these ITGS videos. You can find many more examples, for a variety of ITGS topics, under the video tag of this site. TED-Ed is also a great site to explore for lesson plan ideas.

5 engaging videos for ITGS lesson starters
Article Name
5 engaging videos for ITGS lesson starters
These animated TED-Ed videos are engaging introductions to a variety of ITGS topics, from to system fundamentals to HL Artificial Intelligence.
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Stuart Gray
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