ITGS and Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

The IB Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course is central to the IB diploma programme and aims to help students examine knowledge issues, Ways of knowing (sense perception, language, reason, emotion, intuition, memory, imagination, faith) and different Areas of knowledge (mathematics, natural sciences, human sciences, history, the arts, ethics, religious knowledge systems, indigenous knowledge systems).
TOK clearly relates directly to many of the social impacts and ethical issues students will encounter in the ITGS course. The resources below should help teachers draw on these links during their classes. If you are looking for TOK resources for a particular ITGS topic, you can use the search page to select TOK and the topic of your choice.

Textbook exercise

Exercise 1.8

ITGS Guide: "On what basis can we trust "knowledge" acquired from a range of sources?"
ITGS Links: 1.1 Reliability and Integrity, 1.12 Digital Citizenship, 3.5 Internet

The BBC article Are we trapped in our own web bubbles? and Eli Pariser's TED talk 'Beware online filter bubbles' are two resources that discuss how personalised search results could limit our access to new information.

Search engines play a major role in providing "access" to knowledge and information. The order of the links that appear in search results therefore has a significant impact on the types of information that will be accessed by the majority of people (witness how many people only ever use the first page - or even half page - of search results).

Additionally, some search engines have started to use personalised search results, which can prioritise results that are similar to pages we have previously viewed - thus forming a so-called 'search bubble' or 'filter bubble' that might limit our exposure to new views.

This can be a useful starting point for exercise 1.8, and also links closely to the IB Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course.
Updated: 2014-09-29
ITGS TOK lesson

Lesson resources: ITGS and TOK

The BBC article How fake images change our memory and behaviour ties in closely with ITGS and the Theory of Knowledge course. The article explains experiments in which false memories have been implanted in subjects' minds by showing them manipulated photographs of events that never happened. In one instance, 50% of subjects 'remembered' childhood events that never happened after being shown manipulated photos. A very interesting and new angle on manipulated images.
Updated: 2014-10-03
Bias in Wikipedia

TOK, Wikipedia, and ITGS

Wikipedia is often criticised for being "unreliable", but few criticisms go beyond "anybody can edit it". The resources below examine the demographics of Wikipedia's contributors and editors, and provide some insightful statistics that can be a great source of discussion in both TOK and ITGS lessons.

Wikipedia's editors are basically all dudes examines gender bias in Wikipedia while Wikipedia's own page on systematic bias is full of useful information.

This can lead to some great TOK knowledge questions, including:

  • How can we identify systematic bias?
  • Can we ever truly overcome systematic bias in sources?
  • If 'average' is used in the mathematical sense, how representative would an 'average' contributor be? Is an 'average' of knowledge desirable?
  • Is there some information which cannot be simply classified as 'correct' or 'incorrect'?
  • Is there a place for such information in an encyclopedia that aims to be "to be the sum of human knowledge" (which leads us back to a classic open-ended TOK question: "What is knowledge?")

Updated: 2014-11-17