Didactical Tool: Cyberethics

Authors: Thomas Köhler, Robert Kleemann
Tags: Digital Literacy Digital Worldmaking Digitalisation Digital Inclusion
Cyberethics is the philosophic study of ethics pertaining to computers, encompassing user behaviour and what computers are programmed to do, and how this affects individuals and society. Any didactic modelling of digitally processed perception, construction, and evaluation in education, has to consider ethical perspectives. In any educational technology (ed tech) system, ethics are nowadays considered as highly relevant. This orientation may focus on ethical, anthropological, legal (to a lesser extent), and social aspects of socio-technical arrangements. In consequence, educationalists  should be prepared with comprehensive (media) didactic expertise.

What is it about?

The aim of the exercises is to gain a deeper understanding of the fact that people also write “with ink” on the Internet. Teachers and students should realise the impact of their user behaviour and at the same time develop a more inclusive way of dealing with each other. Furthermore, a (first) sensitisation with regard to the individual needs of pupils should be achieved. Please read the concept on Cyberethics from the DigitClue project website, before you start with the examples.

Try it out

Example 1:

Think about what cyberethics means to you before and after reading the texts.

  • Develop a LearningSnack for your students to introduce the topic to them.
  • After they have used the snack, discuss the differences and similarities with the offline world?

Cyberethics can mean, in a simple sense, that there is a reflection on the responsibility in dealing with information. However, children and young people often find themselves unconsciously in a so-called “filter bubble” in connection with social media and platforms. Recognising this fact and breaking out of this filter bubble can strengthen the understanding of responsibility in dealing with moral values and other users on the Internet.

  • Discuss with your students if they feel they are in such a filter bubble.
  • Test yourself at https://www.filterbubble.lu/ and find out how likely you are to live in a social media filter bubble.
  • Think about the pros and cons of the filter bubble. Does it limit your “life” in social networks?

Example 2:

In the context of teaching scenarios, hybrid formats (meaning here the mixed form of face-to-face and online teaching), can help students with proven indications (e.g. autism, social phobias, etc.) to overcome their inhibitions and to effectively use their strengths without the latent pressure of a peer group.

  • List possible barriers that could arise from face-to-face teaching in the context of the peer group. Either choose a scenario you have already experienced, or use an indication from the example.
  • In your opinion, are there effective possibilities to include people with corresponding indications in everyday teaching, and if so, which ones? How can these be implemented?
  • Discuss with your students how inclusive teaching could be implemented in offline and online form for the group mentioned. Develop an appropriate lesson plan and present it with a padlet timeline. Consider possible challenges in the participatory form of lesson design and which form you would use for the scenario.

Tell your colleagues

Generallly, sharing positive and negative experiences of digital inclusion and in particular examples of it in use, helps others to educate themselves and raises awareness. Users should share their experiences with their colleagues and thus increase the reach of the topic. Therefore, the project aims to establish a sharing platform that makes these experiences visible (anonymously) and offers the possibility to exchange projects, materials, ideas, and comments from their own country, as well as worldwide. This platform will be available as a “D.I. Map” (Digital Inclusion Map – inspired by the “Queering the Map” project) on the DigitClue project website.

Thinking further

However, the development does not have to and should not end here. The users are encouraged to create their own projects and to adopt other perspectives, which can be chosen freely and vary according to the target group. The goal is a complete education and barrier-free coexistence in the context of (digital) inclusion. Often, rules for communicating with each other are developed and laid down in a participatory manner within the class framework.

  • Are these also developed in the context of online lessons?

  • And if so, what would these rules look like?

  • What special features do you think should be taken into account?