Welcome to your iFolio

Your iFolio is a school provided web space that you will use throughout your time at CDNIS. You will use your iFolio to define your learning goals, show your learning journey, reflect on your learning and how you have developed your Approaches to Learning skills, share your best work and celebrate your achievements.

Your iFolio, in time will provide a better picture of who you are as a learner and as an individual. You are therefore highly encouraged to personalize your iFolio. You can start off by selecting one of the 60+ themes available.

Before you start using your new iFolio, follow the steps below to change the ‘Home’ link within your navigation menu to point to your site:

1. Go to your Dashboard menu options (link will open in a new tab)

2. Expand the ‘Home’ menu item by clicking on the downward facing arrow

Home Menu
Change Home Menu Attribute

3. Append the URL to read http://sites.cdnis.edu.hk/students/your_student_number, where your student number is in the form of six digits e.g. 012345 (you can find your student number on your library card)

Home URL
Home URL Link

A final note, please bear in mind that your iFolio is a publicly accessible space, and ensure that the content you post and the language you use is appropriate.

Feel free to delete this post from your Dashboard once you have finished reading it!

Featured image used in this post by Nathan via Flickr Creative Commons

Comparing Human and Natural Science


How will the drought affect the species in WA?

  • Hypothesis: The population of plants will continue decreasing due to the lack of water source, which causes a dramatic decrease in the total number of population in all species.
  • Method:

     – Using samples (certain area) and recording down the population of different species.

     – Using scientific instruments to collect data (health of the animals and plants; body fat rate; water content; sunstroke or not; humidity in the air to predict the possibility of rain)

     – sampling: select several samples from different types of ecosystems.       

  • Techniques of analysis:

     – Deduction from the sampling data collected

     – Look up similar cases happened in history. Compare the similarities and then predict the possible effects.

     – Compare the data with the recorded data before the drought.

     – Make sure to check the other element which alters the living of the species.


How is the drought in WA affecting population movement?

  • hypothesis: There will be less population living in this area in the future years due to the lack of access to water.
  • method: conduct a census in Australia
  • techniques for analyzing the data
  • Look at the background information of that area before the drought
  • Keep in mind that there are other factors that might affect population movement.


Compare the reliability/certainty of the knowledge your experts will acquire.

In natural science, it is quite reliable as the massive samples decrease the uncertainty while in human science, the reliability really depends on human thoughts which alters all the time, make the conclusion very hard to be certain. In the case of the drought in WA, natural science is based on the data of a small area, which reflect the whole situation of the big area. Although there are some anomalies, the data is still very reliable. For human science, the scientists conduct a census, which includes all the population of WA, so the claims derived from the data is reliable. However, there are a few factors affecting the certainty of the data which are listed below.

Identify the factors that contribute to (or take away from) reliability/certainty.

In human science, there are a lot of factors that might affect population movement. Not only the drought that causes the lack of access to water, as well as variables such as economic factors, political factors. People would choose to move to places that have better economic states and policies that can benefit them. Also, if the human scientists carry on a census, they only collect data once, which means if they conduct the census in the afternoon, people live there might be away for work, so the data is not accurate. Therefore, from this case, we can know that in human science has a lot of uncertainties because there is not a point which all the things are set or all the people are present, and it is hard to assume the reasons of human thoughts.

In natural science, uncertainty depends on the reliability of the data collected. As the scientist cannot do detailed research on every single individual of every species, they need to choose samples. However, the samples scientists have chosen might be a special case which causes the error and alters the final conclusion. There is also a possibility of errors appear in the measurements. Compare to human sciences, natural science does not relate to human thoughts. The effect on the species will not change whatever people think. Therefore, if the data is very reliable, the conclusion that scientists made will mostly be very reliable.


Suggest ways that Human Scientists can increase the reliability of their claims.

In this case, to increase the reliability of the claims, human scientists should increase the time of collecting data. For example, they should collect data in the morning, in the afternoon and at night respectively. The more data they have, the more accurate the observations they can make.

Increase the number of samples is one thing that natural scientists can do. As the reliability of their conclusion depends on the data, more reliable the data is, more reliable the conclusion is.


What can you say ‘in general’ about HS as an AOK?

Human science is an area of knowledge that consists of Economy, Politics, Psychology and subjects that are based on human behaviour. Compared with natural science, human science has more uncertainty because humans are not predictable. However, there are still some similarities between human science and natural science. Both of them require data collection and data analysis to claim.


Mathematics Ifolio Post #14

Is mathematics an effective way to describe the world?

-In this article, the main idea is about the ineffectiveness of mathematics in the real world. Instead of being a universal language which describes the physical reality, Abbott believes that mathematics is a product of the human imagination that people tailor to describe reality.


Mathematicians have the concept of rigorous proof, which leads to knowing something with complete certainty. Consider the extent to which complete the certainty might be achievable in mathematics and at least one other area of knowledge.

-The author of this article believes that there are situations when full certainly present in maths, natural sciences and ethics. Maths loses certainty when it is applied to the real world. Natural science is possible to achieve an extent of certainty that is sufficient to base our everyday lives and ethics is completely about subjective certainty rather than an objective certainty.

  • Is it possible for mathematics reaching a complete certainty?
  • To what extent we can say a theory of maths is certain?


1. What is the difference between a conjecture and a theorem?

A theorem has been proved as always true but conjecture has a possibility of being wrong.


2. Saenz de Cabezon claims that the truths in maths are eternal. Do you think this gives maths a privileged position in TOK?

I do not think this gives maths a privileged position in TOK. It’s true that maths is very different from the other areas of knowledge, it is simple and direct and you can get a specific answer in most of the times. However, although the truth in maths are eternal, it still needs human, or other intelligent creatures, to use it. Same as the other AOKs, maths is meaningless if people(or others) stop learning them and studying on them.


3. List any of the knowledge questions related to maths that came out of your discussion in class.

Is it true that there is no relationship between maths and religious knowledge?

Does having knowledge of maths necessary for every human being?

How can scientists decide between competing hypotheses?

First thing first, reliability. When scientists struggle between two opposing hypotheses, they can compare and choose the more reliable one. How is it more reliable? A hypothesis is more reliable when it has more and stronger evidence supported compare to others. Scientists will choose the hypothesis which is the best fit. Not only best fits the current law, but also best fits the evidence.

Science vs. Pseudoscience

Similar to the problem of defining art, the distinction between science and pseudoscience is equally unclear.

In my opinion, although there are some unclear areas to identify is it a pseudoscience or not, it is much easier and different to distinguish science and pseudoscience.

In art, there are two main things which help people to distinguish is it an artwork or not. Normally, an artwork is either nice-looking or containing meaning inside. Of course, they can contain both characteristics, too. However, it is still very hard to define. A Portland artist, Sarah Levy, used her period blood to paint. She painted a picture of Donald Trump with her period blood, which clearly shows her opinion towards him. It is an irony to paint someone who has discrimination towards females with the period blood of female. However, more and more people start to simulate this behaviour, using their period blood to paint. Can we define their actions and works as art? It is very hard to say and it is even disgusting according to the aspect of hygiene.

For science, it is much easier. What are pseudosciences? Divination, constellation, Ouija board, they are obviously pseudosciences because they are not supported by any evidence. No evidence to prove they are hundred per cent true, no evidence to prove they are hundred per cent wrong. Science collect data and observation to come up with a conclusion, pseudoscience makes conclusion first and try to find any evidence which may support it. Physicist, Sean Carroll, come up with a way to distinguish a science and the others —- falsification. It is a very good way to check is it a science or a pseudoscience by testing it is falsifiable or not. I mostly agree with his idea, however, the interesting thing is, the falsification theory itself cannot be falsified.

Do the problems of language always limit the production of knowledge?

Language is a very important part of the sharing of knowledge. In some areas of knowledge, such as history, a tiny difference in the language will cause a big difference. The meaning of ‘flight’ and ‘contraction’ have a big difference and if the historians mixed them up, it will cause a big problem in making conclusions. In the production of knowledge, language is also important and should be precise.

There is a thing called ‘language games’. When people have a consensus that what a word represents although they do not really know what is the exact definition of the word, they are playing a language game. This will cause a problem when people try to communicate with and learn something from people who are in a language game but he or she is not.

There is also a problem caused by language which is also related to the other WOKs. How do people know that the thing he is talking about is the same thing in the others’ minds? Combine with perceptions, who do you know the blue you are talking about is the blue inside the others’ brains? And when these errors are formed, the production of knowledge will be affected as there might be some errors involved. The only thing we can do is using the language as precise as we can and describe all the details that we can think about, especially in the AOKs that could not allow errors presented, such as natural science.

However, there are also some AOKs not affected so much by the problems of language. In the world of art, people mainly used their perceptions to produce knowledge. The language is not very important as the art itself allows people having their own feeling and understanding. The metalanguage is also used in some form of art, especially in drama, which can help to tell information. Some AOKs even benefit from the problems of languages and religious knowledge is the most obvious one. By using obscure paralinguists, believers will have their own understanding of the god and describe him in the best way they can think of. In these cases, the problems of language do not seem so effective or even strong enough to limit the production of knowledge,

Natural Science

Natural science is the most precise area of knowledge in all AOKs. Basically, it is talking about the principles of everything that happens in the natural world, asking WHYs through everything. It makes assumptions from evidence observed in real life and needs hundred-times practice to become a theory.

In natural science, the language needs to be very precise. Data tables and graphs are widely used which shows that the knowledge is based on data. There are many terminologies in this AOK which are the basis of the knowledge. There are three different things in NS, which is hypothesis, theory and law. A hypothesis is a tentative of a phenomenon which need to be proved, a theory is an in-depth explanation of an obsevation which is not been proven false yet and a law is a statement which is correct under any condition. During the development of technology, human keep proving the old theory are false and coming up with new hypothesis and theories.

Knowledge Question Intro

I was deciding which subject should I choose for my EE and struggling between visual art and Chinese. Writing EE in Chinese will be easier for me. Although I like art very much, writing a thousand-words essay in English is surely a challenge for me.  Therefore I realized that the language will affect people’s choices for further study on knowledge. A knowledge question comes up. Does one’s mother language affect on his/ her knowing of knowledge? If it does, could the affect be different between different area of knowledge?

If people can learn better with their first language, writing a Chinese EE will be a better choice as my first language is Chinese and I can learn better with it. If the language does not matter, it could mean that I can feel free to write for visual art and stop worrying about I might get less mark because of the language problem than writing a Chinese EE.

We can also apply the question to the other situation. When I was studying music, especialy the unit of western music, I need to memorize may Italian words and German words which describe the music. There are many famous pieces done in Italian and German, too. I was wondering that will those students who have Italian or German as there first language learn music easier. Translations always have some unavoidable deviation. Could the students grew up with the language which has universal terminology for the certain area of knowlege understand the knowledge easier and preciselier than the others?



Explicit and Implicit Claims

Beauty or Beast? Iceland Quarrels Over an Invasive Plant

1.“To tourists and plenty of Icelanders the lupine fields are a breathtakingly beautiful sight in midsummer, the attractive blossoms carpeting gorges, sprawling over lava fields and climbing steep mountainsides. But for some natives, the plants are an alien blot on the landscape that need to be eliminated.”

explicit: Natives want to get rid of the plants which tourists like.

implicit: The opinion of people will be different depends on they are local or not.

2.“And the threat is growing. Encouraged by the warming atmosphere, lupine is spreading beyond Iceland’s relatively temperate coastal areas and into the interior, previously thought too dry and cold to support the plant. Within 30 years, under current climate change forecasts, it could colonize much of the highland interior, shaped by volcanic eruptions and covered in different shades of lava.”

explicit: The change in climate causes lupine spreading out quickly.

implicit: The global warming will destroy the ecosystem in Iceland.

3.“Iceland is particularly vulnerable to floral invasion, as alien species dominate existing flora and spread rapidly to those places currently without much vegetation.”

explicit: The alien species invaded the ecosystem of Iceland easily.

implicit: Alien species may cause damage to the previous ecosystem.

U.S. Has Highest Share of Foreign-Born Since 1910, With More Coming From Asia

1.“The foreign-born population in the United States has reached its highest share since 1910, according to government data released Thursday, and the new arrivals are more likely to come from Asia and to have college degrees than those who arrived in past decades.”

explicit: Asian people like to immigrate to US.

implicit: Human will naturally move to a space with better condition.

2.“About 45 percent were college educated, the analysis found, compared with about 30 percent of those who came between 2000 and 2009.”

explicit: The percentage for the immigrants who were college educated increased.

implicit: The education level for human became higher as the society developing.

3. “He said he saw fewer Indian people when he bought his house in 2009 than he does today. Now he counted at least four temples and two mosques, and said there are two Indian specialty grocery stores. Mr. D’Souza, 41, who is Catholic, also sees Indians in church on Sundays.”

explicit: More mosques and Indian specialty grocery stores will be opened where Indian immigrants gathered together.

implicit: As people immigrating, they are also bringing their culture to the new society.

Map-like vs Story-like Knowledge

“Knowledge in the arts is clearly story-like, whereas knowledge in natural science is clearly map-like. ” I agree with the claim that there are story-like elements in art, but I do not think it is a totally story-like area of knowledge, and it is same with the claim about the natural science.

What is story-like knowledge? It is a kind of knowledge mainly affected by cultures and other complicated factors, such as tales, parables and epics.
What is map-like knowledge? It represents the reality and inanimate objects, such as equations, formulas and recipes. As natural science is a very precise subject, it may clearly be suggested as a map-like area of knowledge. There is no emotional element involved, the formulas that everyone uses now have been proven for a long time and as time goes by, those formulas become more and more reliable after experiencing modification. These elements all suggest that natural science is a subject which is full of map-like knowledge. However, it is not only map-like but also some story-like element in it. There is a famous German scientist called Friedrich Kekulé who discover the benzene ring by dreaming of an ouroboros. Scientists sometimes need to make a hypothesis without any evidence and try to prove it. They will also need to decide methods and design various experiments though they are not sure about what they are going to discover.