Moral, Ethical and Legal Issues in Technology in Education

As an instructional technology consultant, much of my job revolves around the implementation of technology in education.  Our Instructional Technology team in the past year has tried to do a lot in the sense of promoting the importance of protecting student privacy and looking at copyright.

Our division has strongly encouraged teachers to use specific programs and digital resources for our students in order to protect student privacy.  For example, our school division has enrolled in Seesaw for Schools.  Many teachers in our school division were previously using Seesaw in their classrooms as a communication tool and a digital portfolio tool.  However, even though Seesaw has a great reputation in the world of education our school division found value in signing up for Seesaw for Schools as you are able to store data in Canada, not in the United States.

In my teaching practice, it is very important that parents understand the programs that their students are using.  It is important that we send home permission forms to parents to give them information on the applications and the programs used at the school.  In my opinion, the media release form and the current acceptable use policy is not good enough for parents and students. Often we try out new tools and parents need to be informed.

Copyright has also become a center of attention for our school division.  We have provided professional development around the topic of copyright and fair dealing.  Schools have to be ever more cautious when showing movies or having movie nights at their school. For example, a school in California was fined for a screening of Disney’s “Lion King”.   Many people do not realize that when you show movies or film outside of a home you need to have permission to do so as it is considered a public performance.  Our school division has purchased a license for a program called Criterion on Demand. A subscription to their services provides film-rights to the Canadian non-theatrical market. It features more than 1500 titles.  This service provides teachers in our school division to legally show films, as we encourage our teachers to not use Netflix or other streaming services in the classroom.

As a was researching for my 5-minute video on Moral, Ethical, and Legal regarding Technology in Education.  I began to do more research on fair dealing and what fair dealing is.  According to fair dealing recognizes that certain uses of copyright-protected works are beneficial for society. People can use fair dealing for research, private study, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, and news reporting.  It is important to consider several factors, the amount that you are copying, who you are copying to, and whether or not the copying might have a detrimental effect on potential sales of the original work.

One tool I like to showcase to teachers is something called the fair dealing decision tool.  This website allows teachers, “to decide whether ‘fair dealing’ permits classroom use of print materials, artistic works, or audiovisual materials without getting copyright permission.  Teachers can look up, consumables, articles, books, artistic work, poems or musical scores, newspaper articles, reference books, audiovisual, or other material to learn how much they can legally use in the classroom.

To learn more about moral, ethical and legal issues in the classroom. Check out my video below.


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