Moral, Ethical, and Legal Issues

Examining the moral, ethical, and legal issues that can exist when using technology and social media brings up many topics. As this was the topic I signed up for to do as a content catalyst I spent a lot of time reading many different articles. I chose this topic as I felt it fit in best with my current role as an administrator and also fit with what I was investigating for my final project (post to follow in the upcoming days). While there are so many topics to discuss the ones that stand out for me are copyright issues and the legal issues around privacy and consent. The fair dealing decision tool that Curtis shared is one that I was not familiar with and see great value in. I am looking forward to sharing this with teachers to help them understand and determine what is ok to use.

With the very quick turn we have taken to now teach online, consent issues are coming up hourly. In Amanda’s podcast with Mike Ribble, he speaks about what the pandemic means for online learning. Amanda asked Ribble which of the nine elements he feels is most important for what we are currently going through. His response was safety and security.

Being able not just to provide these tools but how to do it in a safe and responsible way. We have to look out for our most vulnerable members of this digital society.

Teachers are amazing and I am so impressed with what I have seen go on this past week. While everyone is doing everything they possibly can to provide their students with learning moving forward, I know that many are way out of their comfort zone when it comes to technology. The emails and links to shared resources have come in fast and furious and to be honest, have completely overwhelmed many. My own experience this week had me leading a discussion about privacy and security. Websites were being passed around and teachers were encouraging others to check them out. I heard things like, this is great, so many things you can access, all you have to do is create accounts for every student in your class. While all teachers have the best intentions and just are trying to provide students with learning opportunities, I felt it was important to draw their attention to privacy and consent. I shared our school division’s document for approved software, apps, and websites. Most had not seen it before or were not aware that approval was even something to consider. Again I heard, “well it’s free so I didn’t think it would matter”. We had a great discussion and I received multiple emails from teachers asking more questions. I by no means am an expert but I was happy to share what I know about this topic and make others aware of consent and security. As Ribble stated above, we can’t just provide these tools, we need to make sure they are done in safe and responsible way.

I was impressed to see the EdPuzzle website prompt a teacher before creating student accounts. After signing up as a teacher, the website asked the teacher to select one of the following options: I have consent from the student’s parent to make an account or I am authorized to offer consent on behalf of the student. It requires you to select one before moving on to create a student account. I thought this was great to see on the website’s behalf as they are doing their part in ensuring proper consent. The teacher did not feel comfortable checking either off as neither was true. This prompt helped the teacher determine that creating an account for a site that is useful for what they want to teach, was not worth taking the risk for not having consent.

I am hopeful that as we enter this new world of teaching, everyone will see the value of digital citizenship. I hope they will be able to appreciate that technology is an essential part of who we are and it is important that we as educators teach and develop the digital citizens of the future. Being thrown into something feet first is not always the best way to learn but hopefully this experience of learning together will change us. As Mike Ribble said in the podcast, “as we move through this, we will be different on the other side”. I can’t wait to see what that will be!


One thought on “Moral, Ethical, and Legal Issues

  1. Dean Vendramin April 7, 2020 / 2:58 am

    Great post. Lots of issues with consent for sure. I was looking at consent about using pictures from my classroom but I like how you are bringing up consent to sign kids up to things. It’s easy to just jump into a new tool and sign kids up for them … glad you are bring this important point up (I too liked how ed puzzle asks this and its also a great tool). I tool hope there are many silver linings from our current situation including how digital learning will look on the other side.


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