What does it mean to say that ‘ITGS is bigger than ITGS’? It means that ITGS is not just a subject that starts in grade 11 and ends in grade 12. It means that the concepts, skills and understandings are built up in the years preceding ITGS, involve the entire school community and actually provides solid foundation for viewing developments in the future.
The basics of the Triangle actually need to be established log before a student enters ITGS. Most schools have ICT programs that integrate the use of various applications, web services and web 2.0 tools from Strand 3 into teaching and learning. Usually students entering ITGS have created a range of multimedia projects with text, photos and movies. They have a familiarity with common computer technologies and peripherals including printers, scanners, digital cameras and video cameras.
Students also are well aware of online services which closely relate to their own interest so that they are familiar with how to post messages and images. They regard ‘Google’ as the only search engine and are unaware that other search possibilities exist or the reason for their use. Have you ever entered the words ‘search engine’ in Google? Most students do not realize that Google possibly returns biased results in its listing (http://www.3news.co.nz/Google-accused-of-search-bias/tabid/412/articleID/174400/Default.aspx). The concepts in Strand 1 that focus on the social and ethical aspects of ITGS are not well addressed in the years leading up to ITGS.
In addition to the use of applications, web services and web 2.0 tools, the social and ethical use and implications need to be taught as well. Students need to understand the responsible, ethical and legal use for the technologies that they are using and the implications of misuse. Of course, all of the implementation must be adapted to the age of the student… PYP, MYP or DP. Examples of some of these considerations for students include:
- citing the sources of all resources used within project work (i.e. text, images, sound, music, video) and using original content wherever possible.
- determining the reliability of sources.
- following guidelines for digital citizenship (http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/Nine_Elements.html) whenever using online services.
- understanding that illegally downloading copyrighted music or video files has serious consequences for all stakeholders.
- knowing that their ‘digital postings remain forever’ even after hitting ‘delete’. (Do students really wish future university admission officers and employers to see images and messages that they have posted?)
Waiting to teach these concepts in ITGS is too late and reaches too few students. All students need to know not only how to use the computer-based technologies that are available to them (at home, at school, in their schoolbag), but the responsible, ethical and legal use as well.