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10IPT: Research Task Prologue

posted May 31, 2011, 12:39 PM by Eddie Woo
The text that follows is designed to provide an introduction to the research-related questions that will be presented in next week's assessment. Use it as a guide in choosing topics to investigate and content to bring with you into the exam hall to assist you in composing your answers.

There is a truly mind-boggling amount of technology that today's society relies on as part of its everyday life. Multimedia and communications technology - ubiquitous and instantaneous - have become an assumption. Though once upon a time the word 'digital' was a useful and distinguishing adjective, it now carries the same weight to us that the word 'water' would have to fish. People do not own "digital cameras"; they simply own "cameras". Similarly, people do not play "computer games", they play "games". Non-digital ways of doing things have receded into the background of the ways we study, work and spend our leisure time.

Behind this experience is a plethora of companies that have been both serving and driving our need for technology. And between these companies, particularly since the turn of the century, there has been a distinct trend toward the amalgamation of these companies, even when people would traditionally view them as being devoted to very distinct services, hardware or software. This has been called the age of acquisitions. The large information technology companies of our day make bids and buy smaller companies to incorporate the skills and technologies developed and owned by their employees. Companies that are not purchased often join hands in significant contractual partnerships, even if they do not combine as financial entities.

This trend has had deep implications in many regards. It has affected:
  • the technologies available to us,
  • the way we use them, and
  • the impact or effect upon us as technology users.

Okay - that's it! Remember, it's just a prologue - I'm not giving you the question (that would be too easy), but I am giving you a concrete direction to conduct your research in. I recommend that you select a range of news articles, company websites and press releases that revolve around the subjects and concepts touched upon in the paragraphs above. Don't forget the topics that will be covered in this exam and the issues that we have learned about in connection with these topics! With these clues you may even like to guess at the kinds of questions that could be written and try to answer some of them together with your friends.