First Day of DP2

Welcome back! 

Hopefully you had a relaxing summer and are ready to go full force through January.


You should have completed your “Summer Expectations” (curation plus TED ED lesson). Please access this spreadsheet and paste the URL to your lesson there:


Here’s what we will be exploring in TOK II –

1 presentation (Ethics issue)

1 presentation (free choice)

TOK Presentation (choose 1 of 3 to submit by mid-January)

TOK essay (“prescribed title”) prep (questions are posted by IB Sept. 1)

TOK essay draft (by Dec.)

TOK essay finish (by end of Jan.)



Areas of Knowing: Arts, Maths, History, Natural Sciences, Human Sciences

***AOK will feature specific lessons, but also simultaneous independent exploration in specific groups responsible for curating and creating a web site, activities, and presentations.


In an effort to communicate more effectively we will try these strategies-

1. Sign up for REMIND101 (for text announcements and reminders)

2. Smaller “TOK tribes” within each that will serve as blog buddies and Google+ Hangout groups

3. More screencasting on my part

4. New TOK digital magazine (Themeefy) for parents

5. Idea board (“Hmmmm”- see video below)

6. Possible connection with an Australian school via Learnology

7. Participation in “dslja” and TILTOK in collaboration with Jim Groom’s ds106 at the University of Mary Washington and the Mulgrave School’s TOK class in Vancouver

8. Better use of Diigo accounts and collaborative annotations in Diigo (tutorials to follow)

9. More effective use of the backchannel (TodaysMeet and Twitter) during films /presentations/ discussions.

10. TOK YouTube Channel for archiving all TED talks and other videos seen in class.









For a synopsis of Mr. Fry’s video “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 18”, CLICK HERE (some amazing knowledge issues!)

***make your work “more fun than fun”




1. Make a group music video with the VIDRhythm App (I’ll upload to our YouTube). See this:

2. What’s Your Sentence? How would you define yourself in 1 sentence? Check out this video from Daniel Pink’s experiment:

or from the kids at Shanghai American school

3. VOX VISIO: Your Story in 3 Images – Thinglinked. Part of LJA’s goal with the Schools of the Future grant is to encourage student and faculty “VOICES”. While checking out the new tech tool Thinglink, which allows you to annotate images with hypermedia (making them “come alive”), I thought it would be interesting to see if we could distill our life, our story, our “us – ness” into 3 images, and then add media-based annotations (which could be vlogs, text, audio, etc.). And wouldn’t it be interesting to change them into QR codes and place them around campus so everyone could check out your story?

a. brainstorm with yourself or a partner what the 3 parts of your story are

– where you come from, or what makes you who you are

– where you are right now (perhaps something about your summer?)

– where you are headed (immediate or long-term visions of your future)

b. decide what 3 images you will use. (e.g. original or appropriated photography, hand-drawn or digital images that can be uploaded; paintings)

c. decide if you want to make 3 separate Thinglinks or merge the 3 images together in a photocollage program first (like photovisi , shapecollage , or picmonkey). ***Max size is 25MB!

d. Check out these resources on Thinglink


– Video: 

blog with samples and discussion of the QR code

e. Sign up – recommended: The EDU VERSION with your Twitter account…and start creating. Try to have AT LEAST ONE AUDIO / VIDEO- like a voiceover perhaps)

For an example check this out

f. A really cool QR generator is, which allows you to customize your QR codes like this, then use something like Qrafter on the ipad or iPhone to read it. 




Summer Post #10: World Without the Internet

Think about this Infographic in terms of Knowledge Implictions – what are the consequences of the information and knowledge that is created, archived, accessed and shared via the Internet? How would the world look different if the Internet did not exist?


Knowledge Issue: the TED “inequality” Controversy

The creators and adminstrators of our beloved TED were recently accused of censoring a short talk due to its “political partisanship”.

Here’s what @TEDchris (Chris Anderson, the founder of TED) had to say on his blog:

“The National Journal alleged we had censored a talk because we considered the issue of inequality “too hot to handle.” The story ignited a firestorm of outrage on Reddit, Huffington Post and elsewhere. We were accused of being cowards. We were in the pay of our corporate partners. We were the despicable puppets of the Republican party.”


Well he decided to tell the whole story: CLICK HERE FOR HIS BLOG POST

**You can actually view the controversial video in question HERE or read the transcript HERE


WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHY IS THIS A “KNOWLEDGE ISSUE”? (there are many to be found in this)

Here’s what some commenters said:



Belief and Ethics- A Matter of Life and Death? (plus pres. planning)

Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways and offers up a “teachable moment”. This expression is used by educators to describe something in the “real world” that either matches what we’re doing in class OR provides an opportunity for a lesson so great one must temorarily abandon the prepared plans and address this “hot” issue (e.g. The World trade Center attack,Revolutions in the Middle East, or Osama Bin Laden’s death.

Last week (Sept. 21) marked the executionby lethal injection of Troy Davis, a man convicted 2 decades ago for the 1989 murder of a Georgia police officer. Davis claimed innocence until the end, and his case has experienced extreme controversy due to supposed recantations (taking back) of some witnesses. Watch thi reporter’s fairly unbiased video on the matter (he reminds us that whether Davis was guilty or not, his particular case did not warrant capital punishment)


The case has spurred international protests. Ethical issues abound: the right for governments to execute (i.e. capital punishment), the race factor, the legitimacy of our judicial system (there were alleged strong-arm law enforcement tactics), and the “restricting effect” of the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which bars death row inmates from later presenting evidence they could have presented at trial. People from comedian Mike Farrell to Archbishop Desmond Tutu to members of European Parliament have petitioned against this man’s execution. Currently protests are still going on all over the world.

WATCH: the rallies (raw footage) in front of Jackson State Prison 

WATCH: Parisians protest on same ground that witnessed French Rev executions

WATCH and READ: Al Jazeera’s show “The Stream” highlights Twitter talk on this case

READ: 10 reasons why Davis should have not been executed



TOK connection #1: How can the 4 “ways of knowing”- Sense Perception, Emotion, Language, and Reason – affect the reliability of an eyewitness account? 


TOK connection #2: To what extent should life and death decisions be based on belief? Just what does “beyond a reasonable doubt” mean and should it be connected to life and death decisions?

***READ THIS BRIEF ARTICLE regarding what the author calls a “corrupt” system.

TOK connection #3: ETHICS: What is the relationship between capital punishment and human rights? To what extent is it considered ethical or non-ethical?  How is it accepted in some societies or by some people and not others? Should governments be involved in decisions with moral implications? How can it be argued mankind has made moral progress throughout History? Are scientists (DNA evidence, etc.) and others (law enforecement, witnesses, etc.) morally responsible for how their evidence is used? 


***READ THIS ARTICLE for more thoughts about our “moral progress” and the death penalty

TOK connection #4: Knowledge Issues:

Selection of Information– What makes this particular case newsworthy while other events go unreported? Why does this event stir reaction in other parts of the world? How is corporate media and even user-generated media influencing the knowledge people may gain regarding this event?



Issues of Evidence, Bias, Stereotyping What are the problems with the evidence and the eyewitness accounts, and how does human error, bias, or even stereotyping/ racism come into play, if at all? When a protester called this a “legal lynching”, how does that choice of language relate to people’s emotions and historical memory? 


Issue of the Implications of Knowledge: There are many here, but what about something the reporter in the video addressed? He pointed out that supporters of the death penalty need to have a fail-proof system behind them – that when flaws are shown (read- knowledge of failures) the pro-capital punishment argument suffers. Regardless of how you feel about the issue, it’s important for both sides of the fence to examine what IS capital punishment and what is it DOING FOR US? (is it useful? humane? cost-effective? efficient? moral? justified?)



Check out the DEATH PENALTY INFORMATION CENTER for data and facts by state.

ROLL OVER THIS INFOGRAPHIC to see when countries abolished capital punishment or, for the ones who still have it, what types of crimes apply and what methods of execution are used.





American opinion inforgraphics, found at

CLICK HERE to see other amazing infographics, inlcuding the HISTORY of C.P.

What about the cost?



Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


 How appropriate is the  “last meal” request ritual? Read this.


PERSPECTIVES- preparing for the TOK presentation (9 TIPS HERE)

The internal assessment piece for Theory of Knowledge comes in the form of a presentation of a “real life/contemporary situation”, during which you will address the knowledge issues that arise (it is a must that at least 1 clear question concerning knowledge can be extracted). You have 10 min. to briefly introduce the topic, then discuss the knowlege issues (10 min each if in a group of 3 or less).

Moreover, you need to show a “knower’s perspective” (“personal” use of arguments, recognition of your own bias or presuppositions, etc.)…

AND give a balanced account of how the topic can be approached from different perspectives (due to gender, race, culture, age, generation, class, religion, educational background, academic discipline, etc.), and what the implications of those would be. For example, when YOU make a claim, consider counter-claims by asking yourself what someone who disagrees with your point of view would say and why. 

Knowledge issues should be posed as an open-ended question.

Presentations can be of any type- skits, slide shows, talk show panels, films, etc.

EXAMPLE (from the IB Guidebook)

not a knowledge issue: the execution of (in this case), Troy Davis

poor knowledge issue: Capital Punishment- should we or shouldn’t we adopt it?

intermediate knowledge issue: How can we know if capital punishment is right or wrong?

good knowledge issue: What role should intuition play in justifying capital punishment?

Below is a helpful planning document I found online:



Tok Presentation Guide

View more presentations from Toby Newton
Pretend you are planning your TOK presentation using the Troy Davis case and/or capital punishment in general as your “real life issue”. Create a hypothetical presentation planning sheet with the following components:
1. At least 3 knowledge issues that relate to knoweldge itself, the ways of knowing (perception/reason/emotion/language), and/or other areas of knoweldge besides ethics (such as science, psychology, or history). ***Be sure these are formed as open-ended questions.
2. Identification of your personal stance on the issue and what bias or experience or reasoning has led you to believe that.
3. Identification of at least 2 other perspectives as counter-claims, and the implications of those persepctives.
4. At least 3 visual aids that you might use (could be screen shots of Twitter comments, political cartoons, snips of video, artwork, infographics, etc.)
5. Concept idea- how might you choose to present this issue to the class? Would you do a dramatization? a video? a Prezi or Ppt? Explain.
***while you will not be required to actually make the presentation, we will discuss and share our planning brainstorms, and you will need to answer these 5 questions and post your resources on your Posterous blog.
Here are some additional resources which will help you: