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In order to address and to implement ethical technology practices in a classroom and to explain them to range of students, it is necessary to break down the process into more manageable aspects. Those steps, in turn, may be implemented. Toward this end, a definition or working understanding of the issues most relevant to ethical technology and school age students is necessary.
The ethics of technology is a wide and ever-evolving subject because technology is ever-changing and causing people to think and re-think how it is used in different contexts. Technological change has influenced all sorts of ethical concerns, and it is important to distinguish what is legal from what is ethical. For example, tensions and conflict have arisen legally, morally, and ethically regarding privacy vs. free speech. While it may be legal under the constitution to have rights to free expression, people are also concerned about privacy, which is also a right.
Relative to ethics, privacy, and school age children, one of the most prevalent concerns seems to be cyber bullying. It is an issue that can affect students of all ages. As such, many school districts around the country have had to implement specific policies against cyber bullying. Therefore, in terms of implementing classroom practices that can be explained to students in all grades, any anti-cyber bullying practices the district endorses should be prioritized. Enotes includes information on ethics and discussions about cyber bullying. A few of those references are included below. Best wishes!
Implementing ethical practices with the use of technology is also known as Netiquette. It basically entails that students will make a compromise to utilize the available resources in a way that complies with the rules of the organization/district, in an effective way, and with the aim of academic achievement.
The first ethical practice is personal cyberspace- In a world of social networking a new set of rules are forming regarding how, when, and for what reason we need to communicate. Since communication is now ever-present, abusing it would be a very easy thing to do. This is why it needs to be controlled. Therefore, the first thing is to define the limitations and boundaries of communicating. Examples”
- Only instant message students who show up as “available”, or “ready” online.
- Use respectful language, even when speaking to people who you know personally; prosody is lost with cyberlanguage and messages must convey their proper meaning.
- Emoticons do not replace words. Make your statements complete and to the point.
- Do not bombard people with unsolicited emails or chain messages.
A second important practice is how to acquire and filter information. You may want to put these directions next to each computer or as part of a classroom visual:
- Use the words “elementary”, “for kids”, “educational” when conducting image searches.
- Do not click on ads, banners, or any form of promotions
- Do not engage in two separate websites when conducting research except if the two websites contain the same type of information (students who distract easily will never get the work done otherwise)
- Do not chat/email/blog while researching. Focus on what you need to find.
- Always refer to the student resources suggested by the teacher/district website to conduct your online searches.
Finally, you may want to add a copyright rules poster for reference as to how much information they are allowed to copy/paste from a site. This will prevent students from sneaking in copy/pasted sentences from one blog or site into their student work.
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