Information Technology in a Global Society

The study and evaluation of the impacts of information technology (IT) on individuals and society.

The IB Diploma Programme information technology in a global society (ITGS) course is the study and evaluation of the impacts of information technology (IT) on individuals and society. It explores the advantages and disadvantages of the access and use of digitised information at a local and global level. ITGS provides a framework for students to make informed judgments and decisions about the use of IT within social contexts.

Although ITGS shares methods of critical investigation and analysis with other social sciences, it also considers social and ethical considerations that are common to other subjects in group 3. Students come into contact with IT on a daily basis because it is so ubiquitous in the modern world. This increasing global use of IT of course raises important questions with regards to the social and ethical considerations that form our society today.. ITGS offers an opportunity for a logical study of these considerations, whose range is such that they fall outside the scope of any other single discipline.. (IBO)


Students need to understand that each strand of the course – IT Systems, social and ethical issues, and areas of application – always exist together in any ITGS scenario. Overlapping all of these strands are the stakeholders – those affected either positively or negatively by the IT System. The ITGS triangle always applies – whether it is a class assignment or an exam answer (COMMAND TERMS), each area of the triangle must be referenced to obtain the best marks.


STRAND 1- looks at Social and Ethical Significance, either positive or negative on stakeholders. The impacts on stakeholders can come in a variety of ways such as economically, legally, and psychologically. Issues of social and ethical significance also raise ethicasl questions about systems such as 'who is responsible if someone gets injured using this?' or 'is this technology being used ethically?'.

The ITGS issues of social and ethical significance are:

Reliability and Integrity - How well a computer system works.

Security - Protecting IT systems from unauthorised users.

Privacy and Anonymity - the ability to control how data is used

Intellectual Property - refers to 'creations of the mind'. Copyright law addresses this.

Authenticity - this involves a user proving their identity to gain access to a computer system.

The Digital Divide and Equality of Access - IT has not developed at the same rate for everybody in all parts of the world. There are the 'haves' and the 'have-nots'

Surveillance - Using IT to monitor people

Globalisation and Cultural Diversity - IT has helped make the world a smaller place. It has spread news and culture all over the globe.

Policies - Rules designed to control the way people use IT.

Standards and Protocols - Technical rules that designers of hardware and software should follow.

People and Machines - this is related to the way that humans interact with IT, physically and psychologically.

Digital Citizenship - involves being a good citizen in a digital world. Using IT ethically, that doesnt harm other users or their hardware or software.

STRAND 2

This looks at Business and Employment (2.1), Education and training (2.2), Environment (2.3), Health (2.4), Home and Leisure (2.5), and Politics and Government (2.6). These scenarios are based on real-life situations and must be used when addressing specified IT developments.

STRAND 3

This strand addresses the ability to demonstrate technical knowledge by the use of correct and appropriate technical language and provide, where appropriate, a step-by-step description of how an IT system works. Elements from this strand include Hardware (3.1), Software (3.2), Networks (3.3), Internet (3.4), Personal and public communications (3.5), Multimedia (3.6), Databases (3.7), Spreadsheets, modelling and simulations (3.8) and an introduction to project management (3.9). Higher level extensions are IT Systems in Organisations (3.10), Robotics, artificial intelligence and expert systems (3.11), and Information Systems related to the Case Study for paper 3 (3.12).

Other Resources

Paper 1

Slightly different examinations for SL and HL, based on answering 20 mark questions on a selection of the course topics.

Paper 2

Exactly the same examination for SL and HL, based on answering questions on an unseen article.

Paper 3 - HL

For HL students only, answering questions on the pre-seen case study. This year is 'A Doll Called Alicia'.

Command Terms

How to approach examination questions that use each of the prescribed command terms for ITGS.