Beginning a new school year is always a challenge! Once the “ball is rolling” one topic naturally builds on the next. The question is how to get started? One possible approach (see ITGS curriculum plan ) is based on recommendations in the Teacher Support Material. A “start-up” strategy may look like this…

1. Introduction including the topics in the 3 strands, the ITGS Triangle and the “BIG” Ideas

The ITGS Triangle is the structure underpins all aspects of ITGS.  Some of the “BIG” Ideas are identified on ITGSopedia. This is also a good time to introduce the students to ITGSopedia as a source for all of the topics covered in the course.

2. Overview of the IB mission statement, learner profile and TOK as they relate to ITGS

3. Closer look at Strand 1 (Social/ethical significance)
Introduction to social/ethical issues through simple scenarios that demonstrate topics 1.1-1.12. Students will need experience in identifying social and ethical issues that emerge from the use of IT in various situations and explaining feasibile solutions to these problems.

4. Introduction to collaborative tools: use of Web 2.0 tools with hands-on activities

Setup bookmarking in Diigo (or Delicious), GoogleDocs access for the students, a class wiki share class information/files and for collaboration. Wikispaces provides ad-free educational accounts.

Early on in the course it is advisable to show students how resources need to be cited throughout ITGS. A good website for doing this is Citation Machine using one of the suggested formats. A good hands-on activity is to enter the data from a BBC IT news article in one of the formats (i.e. MLA) and show how the citation is automatically created.

RSS feeds. ITGS students should subscribe to several relevant news stories. One of the best news feeds is located at the bottom of the BBC technology webpage. Also the news feed for the New York Times technology is quite good. This provides a UK and USA source for news items. Others may include local new sources.

5. Overview of IT systems

Hardware, software, networks and related IT services (overview of the hardware, software, network and IT services available in the school and at home. Specific applications can covered within the various units of study in the course. This is a good opportunity to teach IT terminology by asking students to enter into Google docs spreadsheet details for the hardware, software and applications that they have at home.

6. Personal and public communications (assumed knowledge of the Internet).
AT the onset of ITGS, students often think that ITGS is simply about using IT systems. They often do not have an overview of the IT technology that is included in the cellphones and other mobile devices that they are carrying with them. Looking at personal and public communications along with the Interent (3.4 Internet and 3.5 Personal and public communications) is a good starting point for placing the ITGS Triangle into context.

This approach also provides the opportunity to introduce following news stories over a period of time. The social media and strategies used in the Obama and Romney political campaigns provide an excellent situation to follow through to the USA election in November. Some relevant sources have been provided at the end of this article.

Not all of the topics in 3.4 Internet and 3.5 Personal and Public communications need to be addressed at the beginning of the school year. Topics can be woven into the remaining units of study as relevant.

6. Business and Employment (first complete unit in the course)

Using and integrated approach for teaching this topic considering:

  • IT systems in Business and employment including specific hardware, software and applications, personal and public communications, networks, and IT services.
  • Strand 2: Scenarios from Business and employment integrated into the unit
  • Social and Ethical issues raised by scenarios or from news items relating to Business and employment.

Resources for the Obama and Romney Campaigns