Teaching ethics in your educational setting
As educators, so much of what we do is skill and content-specific teaching. Now obviously, these are very important, to maybe moderately important when it comes to some content-specific facts, but the teaching and learning should not end there. In today’s ever evolving and constantly changing world, we need to make sure that we are teaching our students what ethics are, and how they will impact their lives as both students, and adults. From Merriam-Webster, ethics are, “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad. In regards to technology, the definition remains the same, but there is a shift to the ideas of both how be people act and interact on the computer together, but also how the computer acts and interacts with the people.
We have to teach the importance of privacy laws and data collection, discuss if technological access is a human right, analyze how technology is outpacing laws to just highlight a few examples. According to the John J. Reilly center, “the astounding increases in the amount of data produced and collected in the world, have fundamentally changed the meaning of what constitutes an expectation of privacy.” Regardless of your actions, people have an expectation of privacy and protection while online. When they share and post information, often times people do so without thinking of longer term ramifications and the security of that information. In all of our classrooms, we need to make sure to make concerted efforts to illustrate that what you may think is private information, really isn’t, and that something you post can make it all away around the world. I think a great lesson on digital citizenship in this regard is the image of a teacher asking for the photo to be shared to teacher her children about the power of social media. So many of these apps hold a style of control over our students’ lives, that ensuring that our students understand the impact of what they post, where, and how can really lead to unintended and unwanted consequences.
Another side of debate in regards to ethics and technology, is whether or not access to technology, namely the use of the internet, a human right? I have seen this premise become much more of a prevalent topic as technology evolves and becomes even more accessible outside of our computer labs. It seems crazy to think about this topic seriously, because for so many of us we are on the cutting edge or close too, of technology as it is constantly evolving. The way our world functions now, for better or worse, if someone does not have access to technology, they will undoubtedly be left behind. On the technology side, mobile data needs proper space and ability to function properly, and those are finite resources, so more must be done to give better access to all of our citizens (Ensuring access). We need to make sure that we are teaching the idea that everyone deserves the ability to access and utilize technology, but also teach that it is also not as simple as just giving every person in the world a cell-phone and an unlimited data plan.
Lastly, we need to better educate our students on the current laws in regards to technology and how that has an effect on their life. It is not new hat technology outpaces the law, governments are slow-moving organizations and technology, by nature, can be a fast-moving beast. However, what modern ay technology allows is very much pushing the limits of what we can reasonably expect to be a somewhat healthy balance. Companies can store unfathomable amounts of data on individual and groups of people and learn, in minute detail. To the point where some larger grocery stores that college meta-data on customer’s purchasers can sometimes tell and start sending targeted advertisements to women about their new pregnancies, and the women don’t even know they’re pregnant (How Target). That is a scary development. Students need to be made aware that every time they are entering personal information into a box, that information is being stored somewhere, and a digital locker of them is being updated with that new information. I go back to the new state of Connecticut student identity protection laws when it comes to online use, and I believe the law is trying to catch up with what technology allows, but also its repercussions of data-mining and collection. Students must understand that private information entered online may not be as private as they believe.
Gerstein, Jackie (2014). User Generated Education. Teaching Ethics in the Age of Technology. Retrieved from: https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/teaching-ethics-in-the-age-of-technology/
Hill, Kashmir (2012). Forbes. How Target Figured Out A Teen Girl Was Pregnant Before Her Father Did. Retrieved from: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/#6e8f0a7f34c6
University of Notre Dame (2013). John J. Reilly Center. Data Collection and Privacy. Retrieved from: http://reilly.nd.edu/outreach/emerging-ethical-dilemmas-and-policy-issues-in-science-and-technology/data-collection-and-privacy/
University of Notre Dame. John J. Reilly Center. Enduring access to wireless and spectrum. Retrieved from: http://reilly.nd.edu/outreach/emerging-ethical-dilemmas-and-policy-issues-in-science-and-technology/ensuring-access-to-wireless-and-spectrum/
Wadhwa, Vivek (2014). MIT Technology Review. Law and Ethics Can’t Keep Pace With Technology. Retrieved from: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/526401/laws-and-ethics-cant-keep-pace-with-technology/