Research looks at ethics of using new technology in education

- out by a University of Wolverhampton expert.

Professor of Mobile Learning, John Traxler, has received funding from the Higher Education Academy (HEA) for the project. With a group of academics from universities as far afield as Plymouth, Edinburgh and Cambridge, he will investigate the ethical considerations for educators using popular digital technologies such as mobile devices and media players; social networking sites including Bebo, LinkedIn and Facebook; blogging sites like Twitter and virtual environments such as Second Life.

The group is making links with various interested bodies and is organising a series of conferences, workshops, discussions and publications, and is working to develop ethical guidelines for researchers and practitioners.

The research project will consider:

  • How each of these technologies have transformed, rather than reproduced, the nature of learning.
  • How these technologies each have their own rules, for example regarding privacy, and governing acceptable behaviour, interactions, humour, language and images
  • That these developments are different from the use of technologies that are purely educational and controlled by the institution.
  • If educators are taking learners into these virtual places, does this raise ethical issues and possibly legal questions in terms of duty of care?
  • Are we entering an era of ‘user generated ethics’?

Professor Traxler, who is Director of the University’s Learning Lab, said: “Popular digital technologies are entirely different from those that are purely educational, such as e-portfolios, where the institutions can lay down the rules. These technologies, each in their different ways, transform rather merely reproduce the nature of learning. This research project will consider the issues surrounding this for both educators and learners.”

ENDS

Professor John Traxler is available for interview about this project, and other issues around mobile learning. Text written by John about this subject is also available for use on request.

For more information please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736

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