Ethics and Educational Technology

I am going to be posting my full comment tomorrow about what I think it means to be an educational technologist, but I wanted to comment first on the discussion about the term “ethics” that have been placed into AECT’s current definition.

In northwestern Ontario one of the primary texts that is being used to focus teaching across the area is Fullan, Hill and Crevola’s “Breakthrough.” In this text they propose a new model for developing a high capacity of teaching and learning. The model proposed is circular in nature for two reasons: to show how all the pieces are dependant on each other and how developing of a higher capacity is never ending. *

The very middle of the model, on which all other parts of the model depend, is moral purpose. They do not define exactly what they mean by moral purpose because they believe all teachers will have a different understanding of the term, yet all educators start and must maintain some form of moral purpose.

This idea is something that I have taken to heart and will understand that it will be time to leave education when I have lost my sense of moral purpose.

The role that we have as educators demands that we have some understanding of our moral purpose in and out of the classroom. As a subset of the educational profession, I believe that we as educational technologists I believe that it is imperative that we communicate this to other professionals and the general public.

When I read Denis Hylnka’s (2008) critique of the use of the term ethical I thought of the movie The Dark Knight. Batman’s conceptual definition or role was to ethically protect the public from harm, whether it was from the Joker or any other evil scenario. When he was placed in a situation where he was forced to choose to rescue one individual and potentially let another person die, he had to struggle with how his decision would cause harm to someone. When someone was harmed when could (should) have protected them he wondered if quitting was the solution. But he didn’t. He understood that he needed to act differently the next time, so that scenario would not present itself.

So it is with teachers who are educational technologists. We must have is our definition that we are ethical, that we have a moral purpose, so that if some our actions end up moving in an immoral or unethical direction we can try to stop the actions and reflect on how to ensure the situation does not occur again. 

*(I know I should be citing a source, but I do not have the book with me and I could not find an e-copy to use. When I get home I will update this posting with a citation.)

References I Had on Hand

Hylnka, D. (2008.) Educational technology: A definition for the 21st century. Educational Technology, 48 (6). 48-50.


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