Ethical considerations emerging in the study of mobile learning
Ethical considerations emerging inthe study of mobile learningJocelyn WishartWhy did I start thinking about ethics?Study of Handhelds inTeacher Education
Handhelds were used effectively to• evidence trainees’ progress against nationally set standards• record one-off events such as a pupil role play for laterreview• capture data and images in the field bridging the classroomand the real world• record one-off demonstrationsIt was found that personal use was important to teachers’success at using the tool to support learning but looking at theirdata, especially images, felt invasive.
Issues in identifying appropriate mobilelearning research methods• Learning will be mobile– Tracking activity across locations• Learning may be distributed– Multiple participants in different locations• Learning may be informal– How can we distinguish learning from other activities?• Learning may be extended– How can we evaluate long-term learning?• Learning may involve a variety of personal and institutionaltechnologies– Mobile and fixed phones, desktop machines, laptops, pdas• There may be specific ethical problems– How can and should we monitor everyday activity?(Sharples, 2007)
Why are ethical issues in researchingmobile learning a concern?• handheld devices provide multiple opportunities for accessto personal information including images• their portability creates a lack of boundaries• they link to both real and virtual contexts• their capabilities are often poorly understoodWhat are your thoughts on these case studies?The classic approach of adhering to a fixed code of conductor having your proposed methods first evaluated by an ethicscommittee does not deal well with the changing contextsarising in mobile learning research.Back to first principles?
Ways of thinking about ethics• Duty ethics arise from an absolute set of values that applyin all circumstances (10 commandments, BERA code ofconduct)• Consequentialist ethics arise from the belief that there areno absolutes, and that the likely outcomes in any situationshould be calculated (cost-benefit and risk-benefitanalyses)• Virtue ethics focuses upon cultivating the qualities andhabits that contribute to a good or ‘flourishing’ life
Four accepted ethical principles:• Do good• Avoid harm• Autonomy (respecting choice)• Justice (equal access to resource)Also where workplace involves those less able to look out forthemselves - Duty of CareThese can be used to frame the key concerns in mobilelearning (Wishart, 2009) of:• Personal information• Images• Informed consent• Ownership (of device, image, identity and data)• Data storage and protection• User generated content
Do good Avoid harm Autonomy Justice /Equal accessPersonalinformationImagesInformed consentOwnershipData storage andprotectionEthics Framework for Mobile Learning Projects