Ethical Dilemma in Educational Technology
The standard behaviors like morality, religious attitude and law comprises of the ethical behavior. For growing moral attitude, ethics plays an important role (Bishop, 2013). An ethical dilemma is a complex situation that tends to refute the moral code or ethical system.
The use of educational technology as a way of enhancing learning in any institution has several ethical dilemmas. In educational technology, ethical dilemma naturally arises from the mental conflict about the morality of the students. Among them are, student’s safety and privacy, objectionable materials sneaked into school, proper netiquette, and unauthorized access at school (Binkley et al. 48). It is prudent to note that incorporation of cyber ethics as part of the curriculum for teachers who use technology in teaching is the only leverage step in ensuring cyber ethics are upheld.
Despite progress brought into education sector through the inception of educational technology, it still has the greatest challenge in molding cyber ethics among the students. To address this situation, it becomes a collective responsibility among the parents, teachers, and the students themselves (Chen and Thomas 89). However, in the process of molding these students into better cyber citizens, several violations of juvenile rights could occur, such as infringement of access to information.
Issues Facing Educational Technology
The greatest challenge facing the educational technology is the ease of access to cyber and internet outlets. In this regard, the school students can barely be restrained from the exposure of their identities to unauthorized persons. Consequently, most students end up being victims of cyberbullying (Aydin 1102).
Proper network etiquette, also known as netiquette, is one of the basic skills everyone should strive to uphold. The skills are important in controlling the kind of information that is sent across any computer network. Most teachers face dilemma in enforcing these basic skills among students. This is because teachers have limited control on the students, and so, limited opportunity to monitor the progress in enforcing this netiquette. Secondly, it is not very well stipulated as to which rules and regulations exist for controlling the transfer of credible information (Boyd and Cate 665). Though the students are aware of some of them, they still omit the rules and act within their interests and desires.
Students’ safety and privacy is another crucial aspect of cyber ethics. It is concerned with the hidden identity of the students. It demands that the students are made vigilant of the various safety-related requirements. With the rising high-speed internet services, students tend to rapidly adopt some of the changes that come with these technologies. Therefore, they are always ahead of their teachers in cases of adaptability. Therefore, students begin to run internet operations such as games and, downloading of latest music and videos. The dangers associated with this exposure are vast (Greenhow et al. 250). The risk of addiction is one such danger.
Finally, unauthorized access to certain sites while in school is also a major issue. For instance, downloading music, movies, games, or any software illegally is an issue of this type. It is incredible just how fast students develop with technology. Often, they have the capacity to crack into certain protected sites such as access to school files to acquire classified information or get around firewalls while at school to gain access to social network. To address this situation, the implicated students should be held accountable for their actions and made to change into responsible cyber citizens. However, the introduction of internet services on various cell phones hampers this progress. Monitoring the activities of these students has become more hectic than before (Jenkins et al. p.n.). As result, the dilemma on internet ethics keeps escalating.
Ways to Ensure Cyber Ethics
- Parents’ Responsibility. The parents of students have to off-load the teachers of the burden of molding their children amid incidences of rising cybercrime and cyberbullying. The results of cyberbullying could be devastating to the future development of students (Chen and Thomas 89). Often, this is because of associated embarrassment, torture, or mental trauma.
- Students’ Expectations. Most students nurture expectations of enjoying the freedom of posting items across the internet (Merriam et al. p.n.). The search engines such as google should be able to censor any information being transferred across the internet.
- Third Party Implications and Losses. The moment that students are allowed to take charge of the internet, they end up causing interference to the other users. For instance, posting of nude photos or pornographic movie might inconvenience other users.
- Definition of Educational Technology. Educational technology has vast definitions. It falls into the category of a practice as well as a design. By making students understand the principles guiding the meaning, they will try to hold themselves accountable in case of any online mess.
- Identifying Cyberbullies. Cyberbullying is one of the cyber crimes. The search engines should come up with measures such as blocking the IP addresses of these bullies or tracking their locations so as to make them legally culpable for their actions (Binkley et al. 48).
- Use of Alternative Methods. Even though there is a rise in the use of firewalls by students in order to access different social sites, the teachers, as the key players in this learning program should come up with highly encrypted programs to bar students from accessing certain sites (Merriam et al. p.n.). Such an approach will ensure the integrity of such sites.
- Creating a Secured Database. Both the parents and teachers, any way, operate computers in front of students. Due to aggression, the student may opt to snoop into the database. When such databases are effectively protected, students are barred from any attempt to access.
- Restrained Mechanisms. Institutions involved in educational technology can actually develop restrictions for students to operate computers in the absence of laboratory technicians (Calvani et al. 801). They should always monitor physically whether students are doing, exactly what is intended.
- 9. Introduction of Specific Programs in Computers. Recently, many programs have been designed in a manner that when they run, they prevent the computers from running other programs like internet (Anderson et al, 64). It can be beneficial in controlling the safety of the students.
- Use of Other Arbitrary Methods. Teachers may opt to organize periodical vocational training aimed at exposing students to some of the rules and regulations required in ensuring adherence to cyber ethics whenever they are in the laboratories (Zeidler et al. 356). It will reduce their ignorance about the rules.
Restricted Access to Data and Information
Most citizens from countries with good internet coverage such as the United Kingdom insist on the need for full freedom to communicate online. It could also be reflective among their children. About 90% of the youthful generation and millennials feel there is need to freely interact. The danger, however, is when the students also imitate the trend followed in their countries (Zeidler et al. 356). Consequently, they grow knowing the essence of cyber freedom as felt mostly, and hence, are difficult to control.
Moral Systems. These should be put in place to keep an eye on cyber activities of students by their parents. The features of this system are:
Moral responsibility should first be provided by the parents as opposed to teachers using them directly to enforce even the primary skills.
Data and Information
According to research conducted by NCMEC, a large number of students have been affected through their use of the internet by exposure to sexual materials among others. In that report, one pupil in every four who regularly use the internet get exposed to sexual improper materials every years (Kelly and Mika 653). The recommendation in the research is that teachers should communicate to the students about the threats they face while surfing the internet, and that they have an obligations to report such issues. Additionally, a research carried out by Carr indicates that eighty percent of children aged between thirteen and sixteen years have been cyber bullied while sixty percent of those aged seven to twelve years have suffered the same fate (442). Privacy of students is also in danger because the amount of personal information being shared by students is very high with a research showing that seventy one percent of students post the name of their schools on the internet and ninety-one percent posting photos of themselves (Dinev and Hart 428). This implies that people with malicious intent may easily get the location of the students and carry out their malicious intends without anyone being able to trace back.
From situation and problem analysis; it is found that ethical dilemma mainly arises from e-learning in educational technology. But there are following different hurdles in this respect that cannot be resolved.
- Technical issues: For e-learning, a high speed internet connection is required for students to meet their virtual classmates. Students can face different technological problems during e-learning. At the time of material downloading; students can switch to illegal sites due to some technical faults.
- Time management: The students have to do time management policy by themselves during online learning. But, students are unable to do this task in most of the cases so; it tends to an ethical dilemma.
- Self-motivation: The students should develop their self-motivational skill for e-learning. There are lots of options in the online that bounds to switch them into the virtual world. So, to develop the positive attitude towards the e-learning by avoiding un-ethical issues is a big challenge for the students.
The above hurdles cannot be fixed in an easy approach. The students have to practice themselves in their own.
In case of searching the educational materials through Internet as well as sharing knowledge through social media via different apps; students used to involve various ethical dilemma. These are described as follows,-
- Bad and hate speech: When the students interact with other via social media, they used to tell different abusive words. The online unknown students can engage an aggressive behavior that must distract them from real world.
- Information stolen: At the time of sharing knowledge through online media; students may involve to share their personal information like Bank A/C details, personal photo, login credentials etc.
- Cyber-stalking: This type of crime can harass someone through social media. Sometimes, students can share educational apps into the social media but the apps can supply misleading information to the students. There is no guarantee for getting useful apps from the Internet.
- Negative impact: Different viral postings from the social media have negative impact on the student’s minds. By ignoring their educational activities, they used to engage most of time by sharing, commenting, liking and postings of different un-ethical things. This is a real fact of ethical dilemma. (Qingya et al. 2011)
- Away from real-world: The students may engage most of the time in social media by ignoring their e-education or e-learning. So, they can create a virtual world by ignoring the real world. (Sogeti VINT 2013).
The moral system being addressed is the ethical issues that arise in the use of the internet for education purposes which brings into the limelight discussions regarding cyber bullying, privacy, ease of access to prohibited sites, and ease of access to the internet. The first solution to these ethical issues is informing parents to take responsibility in working together with the teachers collectively to sensitize students about cyber ethics. Students can access computers while they are at home, thus it will be futile for teachers to be the only one lecturing students on the use of the internet and the threat they face. A combination of both teachers and parents will help in the development of a plan for students’ use of the internet that should be followed both at school and at home.
Parents in the USA agreed to help teachers in exposing their kids to cyber ethics and the dangers of going astray (Jenkins et al. p.n.). They believe keeping their children busy at home may be of help in fighting addiction to computers as was observed initially.
The introduction of educational technology in various schools should be an upfront strategy. It should aim at making the students develop a sense of belonging, and understanding of different global cultures (Greenhow et al. 250).
The young generation is usually very much engrossed in social media. So far, there has not been any concrete evidence supporting the efforts taken either at the classroom level, school level or at home that target these youths. The danger is looming if the trend followed by the youth is not suitably addressed. Cyber crime, cyber conflict or even cyberbullying could still be on the rise (Anderson et al. 64). Therefore, each state government should take appropriate measures to set things right.
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