What does ethical use of technology in the classroom mean and what are some ways teachers can  ensure ethical use of resources, documents, pictures, etc., in any products created by your students?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ethical use of technology entails a behavior which consists on using every technological resource in the classroom in a way that, as the word "ethical" means, is:

  • honest
  • decent
  • proper
  • fair
  • honorable

These are the keywords that should be given to students for them to judge for themselves whether they comply with these requirements. A good way to make these words "stick" is by making them into a word web "sticker" that you stick to every computer. This can be done easily by creating a word web using "SmartArt" on Microsoft Word, and then transferring the smart art to a PPT slide where it can be saved as a JPEG that can be used for future documents as a sticker. This is one of many other things that can be done for the students to remember what being "ethical" means.

The only way to ensure that students do what they are supposed to be doing is by constant monitoring, and by making the utmost efforts to instill in your students personal responsibility for all of their online behaviors. This is not only teacher monitoring, but it also constitutes student self-monitoring and peer-monitoring. When students can control themselves, they are able to serve as role models to others in class. This way the teacher does not have to give up essential instructional time during flexible grouping just to spend it on disciplinary actions.

To achieve self and peer monitoring the best tool is using rubrics. Self-assessment rubrics are checklists that students check out each time something on the list is accomplished. Instead of it being a checklist of items, make it a checklist of behaviors such as:

  • I am using resources from the teacher-approved list to conduct my research.
  • I am using Internet Safety keywords when using my Google, or Yahooligans search from the suggested list (provided by teacher).
  • I am following the steps to the research process taught in class. This means that I am
  1. Skimming and Scanning
  2. Writing down key facts
  3. Following the questionnaire
  4. Citing my sources
  • I am not engaging in chats, checking e-mail, or trying to communicate using my personal information during my academic time.

You can contour these tenets but the important thing is that they make the student acknowledge their behavior and take responsibility for their actions. Always reinforce the completion of the rubric with points, a small prize, a snack, or other motivational ways. It is imperative that the student senses how doing the right thing, ultimately pays off.