Category Archives: Computer Ethics

Local Cincinnati School Allows Digital Devices in Classroom

Written by:  Krysta Ryan


Cell Phones in the Classroom? Technology & Learning

Public Schools in Cincinnati Adopt a BYOD-Bring Your Own Device to School

In Cincinnati Ohio, the Northwest Local School District has finally allowed technological devices in the classroom. The districts 2016-2017 school year will be the first year the Bring Your Own Device Policy or BYOD will be implemented.  Historically, schools have banned the use of personal electronics on school property. Educators have long supported the banning of personal technology in the classroom. A majority believe that all devices are a distraction to learning and will create interruptions in the schools learning agenda. Many school districts have realized cellphone technology is here to stay and has become a vital communication tool in the 21st Century.  

There is optimism among the teachers and students that by having access to the internet for research and learning will aid in the overall learning experience. Supporters also suggest that by allowing devices and technology in the classroom will provide students with valuable skills to function in the digital world. Although students have been using cell phones consistently in their daily lives for almost a decade, many public schools continue to resist allowing the devices into the classroom

        Liz Kolb, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Education and author of Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education, writes

“more schools are embracing the digital tidal wave of technology as part of everyday life for students.”

Kolb points to some schools across the country have been adopted new straightforward rules and guidelines. Policies designed to meet the needs of students while addressing educators’ concerns.  Kolb goes on to explain,

 “it’s hard to fight the tidal wave…so many students have cell phones.”

In fact, Amanda Lenhart the Senior Research Scientist for the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and worked on a study for the Pew Research Center detailing how teens and families use technology.

Lenhart reports that 56 percent of children, age 8 to 12, have a cell phone and 88 percent of teenagers, ages 13 to 17 have or have access to a cell phone.

 Educators have realized that students living in the 21st century are digitally fluent and fighting these technologies have driven societal change to be counterproductive. Instead, converging digital devices using the educational curriculum in a school setting seems to be the growing trend. Proponents suggest that by allowing personal devices on school property, interruptions, device thefts and cyberbullying would increase. On the other hand, introducing device usage in a structured setting would ensure that our youngest citizens are developing healthy and appropriate digital literacy skills.      

Schools across the country have already lifted bans on digital devices in hopes of giving students access to information in ways that traditional books cannot provide.  While the internet increases access to learning materials through the school’s buildings WIFI systems, monitoring the exact material being searched and accessed will remain an ongoing issue. Another concern for both educators and parents are the issues involving social media websites and worry these environments online fuel cyberbullying and other issues that cause long lasting emotional issues.

Thomas J. Billitteri a freelance journalist from Pennsylvania, with more 30 years’ experience covering business, nonprofit institutions and related topics and he wrote an article for CQ Researcher discussing the growing problems with cyberbullying. In the report Billitteri reported that cyberbullying affects millions of adolescents and young adults, affecting girls more than boys, especially in the earlier grades. With the technology, available today many phones have capabilities that pose another threat to the learning environment, camera usage and the abilities for students to use real-time broadcasting.

References

Billitteri, T. J. (2008, May 2). Cyberbullying. CQ Researcher, 18, 385-408. Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/

Kiema, Kinjo. (2016, August 31). As Schools Lift Bans on Cell Phones, Educators Weigh Pros andCons. Retrieved http://neatoday.org/2015/02/23/school-cell-phone-bans-end- educators-weigh -pros-cons/

Lenhart, A. (2015, April 09). A Majority of American Teens Report Access to a Computer, Game Console, Smartphone and a Tablet. http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/09/ a-majority -of- american-teens-report-access-to-a-computer-game-console-smartphone-and-a-tablet/

 Teens and Mobile Phones. (2010, April 19). Pew Research Center Retrieved March 27, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/04/20/teens-and-mobile-phones-3/#

 

Communications

 

The power that is created by innovations in the IT world has raised new questions into the ethical conduct of computing. Philosophers, Computer Scientists and Technical Experts are all discussing ethical concerns in great depth.  Computer Ethics, Cyberethics and forms of Macroethics are being explored.  New developments in technology are adding additional dimensions to previous problems.

Previous guidelines on ethical behavior for the digital world are inadequate and lack proper foundations.

The advancements in communications through convergence and globalization makes sharing knowledge possible around the world. The emerging popularity of mobile computing, e-commerce and social networking only adds a complex set of variables when dealing with ethics.

 

Effy Oz has written many books on information technology and  in his book,  Ethics for the Information Age, he wrote, “ Right and wrong depends on the society and the time in which we live.” (E. Oz.1993) The statement expressing the need for standards relating to ethics and the changing world of information technology.

 

The Computer Security Digest 16.2, written in June 1998, touches on key ethical issues in the IT world.  Among the list are topics such as Privacy, Safety, and Piracy.  The most common of the three is Piracy.  For each software program sold, developers claim that another two to five copies are ‘bootlegged”.(Ethical issues.1998).

 

The anonymous writer also discusses Data Security and Data Integrity as areas of concern, especially in relevance to databases. Database owners store sensitive and personal information such as arrest reports, credit ratings, debt information and medical documentation. (Ethical issues.1998).   Highlighting the importance of comprehensive, accurate and timely processing of data as an obligation. Competence also on the list suggesting the need for research and development to stay in sink with rapid growth in computers as a whole.

 

Other ethical issues to consider are Honesty, Loyalty and Fairness. These topics are difficult to process ethically, due to fluctuation in beliefs, societal abnormalities,  morals and economic resources.  The technology world calls for ethical reflection before consequences become visible.

Ethical issues. (1998). Computer Security Digest, 16(2), 3-5.

Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/216973431?accountid=32521

The idea of micro and macroethics

Along with the themes of integrity and Rightdoing, another set of ideas has increasingly come under discussion in research ethics, that of the distinction between micro and Macroethics. Microethics refer to those activities that occur between individuals, and this has historically been a major focus in ethics training.  Macroethics refers to activities that involve larger group and societal interactions. Given the increasingly complex role of research in our society, it makes sense to enlarge our exploration of research integrity to take in macroethics.

As an example, suppose we are working on a project measuring changing acidity levels in a series of lakes. The objective reporting of data to a research supervisor would be an example of Microethics. But when we begin to consider the larger responsibilities of the research group to scientific knowledge, to the industries located near the lakes and to the public, this is Macroethics.

This idea of a dual level of ethical concern is an expansion on the idea of integrity: but we can see how Virtue Ethics continues to be part of the picture. In addition, the Kantian approach of fulfilling obligations applies, as does the Utilitarian stance of looking at the consequences as our means for defining “right action.” Increasingly, researchers are thinking about the macro ethics aspect of integrity in their work. Interestingly enough, this again brings up the issue of ambiguity: using the above example of the research into acidity levels, can we be 100% sure of the exact role of industrial waste in the changing acidity of a lake system? And this brings up as well another critical issue in research: should we publish our results before we are 100% certain of the whole picture? What is Rightdoing here?

“In short, Macroethics is the study of ethical systems appropriate to complex adaptive systems, in particular, those global integrated human/natural systems that are characteristic of the anthropogenic Earth. This is the ‘macroethical gap,’ for how to formulate ethical structures adequate for such challenges has yet to be effectively addressed…Thus the choice of the process by which the individual becomes engaged in dialogue with the system…is what becomes ethically critical…Free will and ethical responsibility in complex systems such as the Everglades thus becomes less of a point function, and more of a networked function spread over multiple spatial and temporal scales. Just as quantum mechanics did not obsolete Newtonian physics, but relegated it to a limited space (e.g. interaction of macro bodies), the traditional concept of free will is thus not obsolete, but is a bounded part of a much more complex, systems-based phenomenon.”
Allenby, Brad.  Micro and Macroethics for an Anthropogenic Earth.” Professional Ethics Report, AAAS, Spring 2005.  p.1-2.

The Purpose of Writing…

Let’s Breakdown the Words

⇒Writing

Calligraphy⇒Handwriting⇒Hieroglyphics⇒Inscription⇒Italics⇒Longhand⇒Notation⇒Penmanship⇒⇒Printing⇒Scribble⇒Script⇒Shorthand⇒

⇒Purpose

⇒Aim⇒Ambition⇒Aspiration⇒Design⇒End⇒Goal⇒Hope⇒Intent⇒Motive⇒Objective⇒Outcome⇒Plan⇒Point⇒Rationale⇒Target⇒Will⇒

The Politics of Writing

The purpose of writing has always been for the writer to convey a message to the reader, but I think this escapes many writers today. The majority of writing is not focused on what it says rather how it says it. Many political writers will spice up their writing with sophisticated language and complex terminology to attract the higher educated crowd.

The most obvious problem with this is that you’d be ignoring the main audience of the piece, which happens to be the largest demographic. If the average person reads a piece with a needlessly large and obscure vocabulary then he may conclude that the writing serves no purpose for him, then he will shy away from all writing like it. If you write for the every day person not only will you have a larger audience, what you write will be more effective.

Orwell said it better than I…

View original post 811 more words

Digital Destruction of Socialization

Who could predict a global phenomenon that would change the definition of the word “friend” and bring a social crisis that places previous ethical theories in need of a cyber-makeover. A market research firm interviewed by New York Times(2007), estimates that consumers in urban societies absorb 5,000 media images and messages of information in a single day.

The infiltration of media at rapid speeds changes information and access of information. Ethicists are now scrambling for new alternatives to this global phenomenon.  For the past century utilitarian perspectives has dominated media ethics at its core and it’s clear that outdated approaches are in need of review. In fact Elliot(2007), states that utilitarianism can be found in legislation and is morally the guiding theory behind creating laws in a democratic society. Media ethics developed roots with utilitarianism and democratic corporation meant laws would maximize the total happiness of the community.

As our world develops future technologies our society as a whole and the individual moral agents that utilize the expanding communication tools. Learn the ethical knowledge to consider media literacy as a duty in the digital age. To bridge the digital gap and empower internet users to engage in a digitally responsible way. As deontological approach towards media first review the context to determine what duty or obligation does the media representation fulfill. Does the media provide a message that I should support, share, or promote? Taking on a duty to treat others with respect as Mosser(2013) conceptualized as “Duty Ethics” can be difficult to absorb considering cyber ethics has not yet been fully explored.

Navigating such a complex network the internet developed perspectives such as; the Speech Revolution. Highlighting the development of real-time media uploads with live stream, Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo which creates a digital footprint of your internet activity, hence launching a digital presence that can not be erased.  Media giants such as Google develop advertising techniques that monitor a user’s browser history gaining information on words that associate with your internet use. Doesn’t this breach an ethical concern into privacy? Have Google’s practices violated medias utilitarian foundation? Considering deontological ethics one must assume google’s duty to provide data gathered through analytic review.

After all media at one time was at the forefront of the news empire says Eliot(2007) and information was presented through radio, broadcast media,  press publications, print ads, movies, news, and television. The information was scholarly, maintaining prestige and integrity by following journalistic duties to the community.  Journalism works well with democracy, when the media obtains facts and information that will impact the masses the overall approach remains parallel to utilitarianism.

As media now expands to digital platforms privacy and right to intellectual property have entered the debate in regards to freedom of speech. As previous media contributors consider all variables the press may consider ethical dilemmas such as: distributive justice, protection of intellectual property, diversity in pop culture, violence on television and in movies, truth-telling, digital manipulation, conflict of interest and exposure of pornography. Media has facets in which theories maintain preliminary perspectives as social media, rapid media and real-time broadcast research remains in its infancy.

Communication theories surface as cyber-ethicists like myself develop strategies to identify uncertified journalistic viewpoints on the internet. So what should be allowed on the information highway? Can media be divided into categories protected by ownership making the responsibility fall on web-site developers?

All in all the internet craze places factual media in jeopardy of losing its powerful purpose. In turn, emotivism considers theories that are implied causing extreme confusion and misunderstanding. Media is viewed emotionally considering the context through feelings and thoughts. The moral response is simply an emotional response leaving little logic to the practice of ethics(Mosser,2013). Media theories could suggest that emotivism is so diverse,  and feelings develop with experience and understanding of how to respond such stressors and image can enhance.  With theories derived only from emotion one must question how media affects the fundamental development for adolescent youth. As presented before today we see 5000 media images a year so that’s one million eight hundred twenty-five thousand images a year. Emotivism can not be eliminated but evaluated to adopt coping mechanisms for misinterpreted media on the internet.

How can a society determine the effects on adolescent development when research seems non-existent ? Take for instance the fading trend of landline phones. Smartphones, tablets, and internet apps have replaced households means of communication. With that said cell phones are now being used by younger generations. If I work until 4:30 I have my cell phone, my daughter age 13 walks home to the house. If she had an emergency she would need a phone. Consider an urban society, students ride public buses to school, as one might assume the population is condensed causing crime to thrive. Phones now provide location capability, access to emergency personnel and ensure minors have access to communication. With safety in mind cell phones can provide necessary tools for youth to develop technological skills, organization, and responsibility of ownership. Still ethical media usage remains a topic of critical concern as media literacy must explore all facets of media. If images can cause such diverse responses isn’t there a need for regulations on powerful media giants to shift from analytics to media education?

Cyberethics is formulated to consider utilitarianism when media’s platform contains information a society is entitled to acquire: such as news, press media, political media, alert media, crisis and weather media. A utilitarian may ask; What information presented will have the greatest response from the most people. Emotivism can not be ignored, rather used as an igniter for conversation among or developing youth.

Creating global collaboration the utilitarianism way could enhance media exposure sharing vital health information ultimately saving lives. Such images and context how the media is presented can change the intended impact on the social institution.  Consider media as an enterprise,  a dominant social institution that is powered by influence and enhanced with media to validate the message.

As we proceed to uncover ethical situations implemented through use of media and powered by media giants, internet practices on the other hand must be evaluated to the extent of reform. The responsibility to educate our youth through media literacy programs is the next critical step in this cyber ethics revolution. The internet as a public entity must be respected and information must be considered privileged. Therefore media responsibility becomes a collaborative effort among all users, a societal obligation to absorb media with logic to identify its purpose or intent to avoid persuasive misleads.

As one must assume responsibility as a moral agent in a society flooded with a variety of information media can be hard to navigate. In turn ethics in media becomes a shared process of discovery, discussion and interpretation(Elliot,2007).  In retrospect a deontological duty as adult moral agent is to educate and guide our youth. As adaptation of technology leaves large gaps in adult users, adults struggle to understand the inter-workings of the connected web, leaving the adolescent teens vulnerable to eroticism enhanced through media exposure and poor regulation on inappropriate internet behavior.