Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Ethics of Technology

According to Forbes, "Wearable Tech Market To Be Worth $34 Billion By 2020" ( Wrist-based devices can be found in schools everywhere. In fact, a friend of mine said she has twins in first grade at her school that have iWatches. 

Educational technology LMS platforms are spending much money and man hours on creating safeguards against plagiarism. Add-ons like and question banks for testing that changes the variable numbers, order of answers and questions, and the actual questions themselves help teachers better monitor cheating.

Teachers are fearing websites like the free iOS app, PhotoMath that automatically solves equations and shows you the steps. Or how about the website that for a small fee will write your paper for you? Where should technology start and students end? Where is the line between "technology is an aid to the learning process" and "technology did this by itself" for the ever needed good grade?

We are at a place where today's students have to learn that information is not knowledge. The easy access to information due to their smartphone in their back pocket does not make them truly knowledgable...just able to regurgitate facts....or fake it. I've done it, I've been asked questions regarding certain educational topics, I've quickly googled it and was able to sound knowledgable but in honesty, my level of comfortability wasn't there. As my mom would say, "I knew enough to be dangerous."

Recently being recognized as a Common Sense Media Certified Digital Citizenship Educator and dealing with some realities of access to Google images for elementary students has caused me to reflect on the ethics of technology usage. This is the fourth year I have been a certified digital citizenship educator because I find it incomprehensible to ask family's to allow their children to use technology in our school without also doing my part to prepare their hearts and minds for this fire hose tool of information and engagement.

Most parents received no training on the ethics of technology use and therefore they don't know how best to guide their children either. Parents often aren't making choices to be proactive in protecting their children on the internet. Often they are reactive after something they wish hadn't happened happens.

Educators, all of us that use technology in the classroom, have a responsibility to teach digital citizenship. If you want to reap the benefits of technology you must also teach responsible use. Including it based on current day events such as media literacy that is been in the news so much lately, and real world situations that occur at your school often, give you authentic learning experiences for both you and your students. You would be surprised how often students are surprised by being held accountable for things they do on social media at home. Anything that harms the school culture has to addressed. Technology changes the span of the classroom by breaking down walls and growing the timeframe of the classroom. We must be proactive about preparing our students to influence the world positively with their digital footprint.

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