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A sneak peek at the new digital society course

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By James Greenwood, Jonathan Levin and Joel Adams

Living and working in a digital society can be dizzying as new tools, media and platforms appear (and disappear) at seemingly breakneck speed.

From the viral spread of “fake news” to social media algorithms designed to capture every moment of our attention, we need innovative lenses to help us critically examine the world around us.

In the upcoming digital society course in the IB Diploma Programme (DP) and Career-related Programme (CP)—which replaces DP information technology for a global society (ITGS)—a set of important concepts aim to help us do just that.

Each of these emerging course concepts address essential human experiences and understandings deeply rooted in the social sciences and humanities.  Together they serve as powerful wayfinding devices for the vast and changing territory of our contemporary digital world.

While still in the development stages, we wanted to share some of these course concepts with the IB community in advance of first teaching for the new digital society course in 2021:

    • Disruption: changes to how we do things as well as perceive, understand or describe them.
    • Sustainability: living within limits of available material, ecological and social resources to ensure and promote our well-being and that of future generations.
    • Identities: the multiple ways that we present and understand ourselves both individually and collectively;
    • Agency: the ability to make choices and take meaningful and intentional action in the world.
    • Power: an essential feature of all social relations involving the capacity to influence, control or enable the actions of others.

Building on the strengths and expertise in the current ITGS community, these concepts will provide additional opportunities within the next course to explore contemporary digital society from inquiry-rich perspectives that empower teachers and students to forge connections between their own experiences, real world issues and the new course’s broad multi-disciplinary content.

Over the upcoming year, we will continue to offer an insider’s view of this emerging course. Interested educators willing to share their passion for digital cultures, media, tools and platforms are encouraged to join the development team by contacting Joel Adams, the digital society curriculum manager at

James Greenwood teaches the DP course information technology for a global society (ITGS) at Taipei European School. Jonathan Levin teaches ITGS at the American School of Madrid. Joel Adams develops the curriculum for ITGS at the IB.

At their latest meeting for the new DP/CP digital society course, James, Jonathon, Joel and other members of this development team refined important course elements including a rich conceptual approach for the new course. The digital society course will replace the DP information technology in a global society (ITGS) with first teaching in August 2021 and first assessment in May 2023.

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