I developed a lesson on ethics and computers for a computer science class, but the lesson can actually be taught in any class that needs to talk about the impact that technology has on people. The primary question asked to students was “how does the internet affect society” – for good and bad? The lesson is designed to be a class-wide discussion, opening up the windows of communication so that students can talk about the good and bad things that they see online every day. Topics often brought up in this conversation involve:
- Communication – E-mail, Skype/Google+, improved family communication, and improved terrorist communication.
- Reseach – Information at your fingertips. Instant knowledge gratification. Easier access to dangerous information.
- Voice – Your thoughts have a wider reach now, with E-mail, tweeting, microblogging (Facebook), and blogging. Share your thoughts – good or bad, true or false.
- Social Networks – Staying connected and knowing the day-to-day activities of friends and families. Potential stalking.
- News – Learn about world events moments after they happen. Slander a person’s name in seconds.
- Reliance – people relying on the internet now for all information. Some people can’t stand being away from Facebook for long periods.
- Gaming – More interactive. People across the world can come together to play games together. MMORPG. How gaming can effect family members.
At the end of the lesson students are to consider how other technologies can be used for both good and bad and to see both sides of technological advancements issues. Finally they are asked to research a technology and present the benefits it has on society as well as the problems that it causes.
This project meets the requirements for Standard 4 by:
- Helping students become aware of their digital presence.
- Helping students be aware of the impact they can have online.
- Helping students understand the costs and benefits of online technologies (and technology in general).
- Engaging students in a collaborative discussion of the costs and benefits of technology.
- Helping students see how they can be more responsible online.
Download the lesson: Ethics in Computers Lesson Plan