Business and Employment
IT Systems in a Social Context: 2.2.3 Word Processing and DTP

The Great Debate


Has the introduction of advanced word processing and desktop publishing been a positive step for society?

In the debate you are to take the roles of the following stakeholders and present a convincing argument.



Background Research

Students work together to produce this
  1. Describe word processing. Explain its history and development.
  2. Word processors have two major functions: text entry (typing and editing) and document formatting (determine the appearance). Explain these in a one-paragraph summary for each.
  3. Describe the development of voice recognition software and its use with WP and DTP software.
  4. Describe desktop publishing. Explain its history. How does DTP differ from word processing?
  5. Explain the hardware and software needed for a WP and DTP system.
  6. Explain the term ‘intellectual property’?
  7. What is ‘freedom of the press’? Research some countries that may allow this.

Stage 1: The Stakeholders

Each student will take on one of these roles. Background research is required to provide convincing arguments. Each student will be given 2-3 minutes to present their arguments. Technical explanations may be required to help explain some arguments. Each student needs to answer the question posed based on the evidence presented.
  1. President of Edtopia (a dictatorship where freedom of the press is not allowed).
  2. Edtopia inhabitant who disagrees with the President (wants the freedom to publish).
  3. A typesetter at Edtopia PressEdtopia Press who has been deskilled.
  4. An editor at Edtopia Press who has is suffering from RSI.
  5. A well known author who is suing Edtopia Press for reproducing his work without permission.
  6. A junior worker at Edtopia Press who has been retrained to use DTP.
  7. Manager of Edtopia Press who has promoted DTP in the workplace.
  8. A manager of a small business in Edtopia that now does all its publishing in-house using DTP.
  9. A highly valued employee of the small business in Edtopia who is losing his/her sight.
  10. Edtopia student who has been given a laptop (OLPC)

Assessment Criteria (individual assessment - by peers)
  • You have explained you position and the argument(s) you presented (are) relevant to the character
  • You have researched extensively
  • You have addressed the focus question
  • You have anticipated responses/counter arguments as part of your presentation and argument
  • You have used visual aids as part of your presentation
  • You have been able to address questions from the floor

Stage 2: The Debate

Assessment Criteria (individual assessment - by peers)
  • You have contributed to the debate.
  • You have been able to build/counter arguments and use information from other presentations

Stage 3 - The Write-up

You cannot change your viewpoints as presented in your initial argument - however you should provide as much information as you can in order for your group to come to be verdict. You should use the feedback from your peers from your presentation to do this.

Assessment Criteria (individual assessment)
  • You have presentated your argument in the wikispace
  • You have included links to sites and/or references are given

Stage 4 - The Verdict

Assessment Criteria
You have worked in a group to answer the debate question. Your response should:
  • State a position which should be supported by an analysis and evaluation of the arguments given by the range of stakeholders;
  • The evaluations could provide solutions to some of the issues discussed in order to make your position more convincing.