The new school year is now starting in May session schools. A new school year is exciting and also a crucial time to set the scene for approaching ITGS.
Questions that immediately come to mind:
- What do students need to know about the IB programm?
- How does ITGS relate to the DP programme? and
- What understandings and skills do ITGS students need right from the start?
IB DP and ITGS
IB programmes are based on the Mission Statement, the 10 attributes in the Learner Profile and International-mindedness. It is important that students understand that these attributes and International-mindedness underpin all aspects of ITGS. ‘The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century.’ (see IB Learner Profile)
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ITGS in the DP programme needs to be explained both as a Group 3 subject with similar aims, objectives as other Group 3 subjects (i.e. History, Geography, Economics, Psychology, Philosophy and other subjects in the Individuals and Society Group).
The three areas in the DP Core relate closely to ITGS:
- Theory of Knowledge naturally links to ITGS as it does to all subjects in the DP Programme.
- ITGS students may select to develop their Extended Essay in ITGS.
- At times students have creative endeavors that they would like to develop, but they do not quite align to the ITGS Project, but are often very good CAS activities.
It is important that students understand what ITGS is all about. The entire ITGS Guide is summarized in the ITGS Triangle. Furthermore, all topics in the guide and news events in ITGS can be approached by using the four parts of the Triangle.
The two parts that are the most difficult for students to understand are Stakeholders and the topics included in Strand 1: Social and ethical considerations and require explanation.
‘The ITGS syllabus is closely linked to the IB learner profile, which strives to develop internationally minded people who recognize their common humanity and whose aim is to create a better world.’ (ITGS Guide, Pages 17-18).
International-mindedness is achieved not only through looking at a range of news sources from different parts of the world addressing the same news story and trying to understand the cause for differences in perspective. International-mindedness also is reflected in class discussions and encourage students to ‘understand that other people, with their differences, can also be right.’ (IB Mission Statement)
Probably the most important and frequently missed definitions for introducing ITGS from the ITGS Guide (page 4) are:
• Information technology (IT) – the study, design, development, implementation, support or maintenance of computer-based information systems.
• An information system – the collection of people, information technologies, data, processes and policies organized to accomplish specific functions and solve specific problems.
• Social and ethical significance – the effects that the development, implementation and use of information technology has on individuals and societies. Social impacts and ethical considerations are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, they are categorized as a single entity. Social impacts tend to refer to the effects of IT on human life. Ethical considerations tend to refer to the responsibility and accountability involved in the design and implementation of IT. (Note: responsibility and accountability may involve different stakeholders)
Setting the Scene
One of the ways of demonstrating how international mindedness, the Learner Profile and the ITGS Triangle (Guide) are linked are by taking a look current news items. Many are listed on Facebook ITGSopedia Group page. Amongst the newest is Online Anonymity Will Soon Be The Only Kind We Have which should lead to insightful ITGS discussions.
Next posting: What understandings and skills do ITGS students need right from the start?