Assembling the heterogeneous elements for (digital) learning

Safe, legal and ethical practice for ICTs in schools

The assignment for ICTs for Learning Design that I am meant to be completing has a rubric with four criteria. The fourth criteria is

Model and support safe, legal and ethical practice

During my wonderings within the course, I have yet to come across (or remember) anything that explains what is considered “safe, legal and ethical practice”. Is this constructivism gone made, simply my bad memory, or is knowledge of what this is just assumed?

In the following I’m attempting construct my own meaning so that it will shine through in my assignment submission.

What do I know?

In short, my current knowledge can be described as:

  • Safe – the kids aren’t exposed to situations in which they may suffer harm in various forms.
  • Legal – the participants aren’t doing anything that breaks laws.
  • Ethical – from a simplistic perspective, don’t do unto others, what you don’t want done to you. Morals enter the picture here somewhat.

Time to look further afield.

From the course

Yes, my memory was playing tricks. The course – back in week 2 – does mention the safe, legal, and ethical application of ICTs. It points to the following resources

  • Risk management for web publishing from Queensland Department of Education.
    Which includes the idea that no student information can be disseminated online as part of school activities. Though parental consent can be used in some circumstances. Also, copyright considerations apply.
  • Some more specific discussion of schools, students and teachers and copyright online. (for which the bottom “next page” link doesn’t seem to work).
    Some implications from the examples in this resource
    • Posting original student work online is okay, and can be open to the public if students agree.
    • If the student work contains 3rd party material, fair dealing/use applies.
    • If fair dealing is used, any online student material using it must be restricted to teachers, students and parents.
    • Staff use of copyright material (including video) are covered under the “Part VB” approach and must be limited to teachers and students (and parents for assisting students).

Thinking digitally – Ethics, issues and ICT

Another Queensland-based online resource provides another view on this information. It talks about National Statements of Learning for ICT – which will be picked up in the following section.

It does make the point that teachers are meant to model the ethical use of ICTs for their students. But most of the resources are essentially about creative commons and other mechanisms by which you can access resources that are free of copyright.

Essential learnings

The use of ICTs is actually part of the curriculum (e.g. the year 9 essential learnings for ICTs). “Ethics, issues and ICTs” is one of the organisers for this KLA and includes the following.

Students understand the multiple roles and impacts of ICTs in society. They develop and apply
ethical, safe and responsible practices when working with ICTs in online and stand-alone
environments. They:

  • apply codes of practice relevant to local and global environments, particularly in relation to online
  • understand that values shape how ICTs are used
  • apply codes of practice and strategies to conform to intellectual property and copyright laws
  • consider individual rights and cultural expectations when accessing or creating digital information
  • select and apply a range of preventative strategies to minimise health and safety issues
  • secure and protect digital information, including personal information and recognise the specific
    needs of some users
  • develop and maintain strategies for securing and protecting digital information
  • analyse and evaluate ICT use, considering economic, social, ethical and legal perspectives
  • reflect on, analyse and evaluate the current use of ICTs and predict future impacts on the
    workplace and society.

Some questions/thoughts which arise from that

  • What are the most applicable “codes of practice” in this context?
  • Ahh, health and safety is included in this, posture etc.

I find it interesting that the Western Australian Department of Education website on ICT in learning has “Student Safety” as a major section, but not ethics. Not to mention that content filtering is placed within this category, i.e. it’s a student safety issue.


This ethical use document for ICTs from a Tasmanian school has, what I think, is an important perspective on the ethical use of ICTs.

Characteristics of ethical use of ICT equipment and systems are no different from
the fundamental principles on which Christianity is based:

Not so much the Christianity point, but that ethical behaviour is ethical behaviour regardless of whether it is with ICTs, a pen, or your fist.

That said, the connection with the fundamental principle of “openness” and the ICT translation being “acceptance of the monitoring of computer use” has me pausing just a bit.


Exploring minecraft


Analysis of digital technologies

1 Comment

  1. There was a recent release from Ed Queensland legals that clarified some of the copywright stuff:

    In relation to Youtube and other online resources, the department’s position is you may rely on Section 200AB (S. 200AB) of the Copyright Act (a free exception involving Flexible Fair Dealings), provided you meet ALL of the 5 criteria:

    * You must be using the copyright material for the purposes of giving educational instruction.
    * Your use must be non-commercial.
    * The circumstances of your use must be a special case.
    * Your use must not conflict with the normal exploitation of the copyright material you are using.
    * Your use must not unreasonably prejudice the copyright owner.

    These are explained more fully in the information sheet called ‘The new flexible dealings exception – what am I allowed to do?’ along with a decision making flow chart to help you decide if S. 200AB applies to what you intend doing.

    You also need to document the use as part of risk assessment.
    Note also that downloading for offline use breaks protection measures and thus is specifically not covered under 200AP, even if the original content had no copywright requirements before being uploaded to something like YouTube.

    There’s a fair bit more on the SmartCopying website if you’re interested.


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