Adjunct Lecturer Kristen Mattson has authored a new book on teaching digital ethics. Ethics in a Digital World: Guiding Students Through Society's Biggest Questions was recently published by the International Society for Technology in Education. Mattson designed the book to help students look at the technology around them through a critical lens.
"As a school librarian, I have been witnessing the increased focus on STEM in schools and started wondering if we were making a mistake by deprioritizing the humanities," she said. "People in Silicon Valley and higher education are having conversations around the ethical implications of the technology we use each day—but those conversations are not trickling down to K-12. I wanted to give secondary educators the background knowledge to begin having these discussions with students."
The book addresses six ethical questions: access to information, privacy in the digital age, human bias, the future of work, technology and mental health, and social media and society.
"Our students are already consumers of various technologies. I think most librarians would agree that we want them to be critical consumers—which may not happen if we do not provide time, space, and resources for allowing these conversations to take place," said Mattson. "Likewise, our students are creators. Schools are making changes to ensure that they have the necessary technological skills to produce the next wave of big technologies, but we must also make sure they have the mindsets to create technologies that are beneficial, not detrimental, to humans."
At the iSchool, Mattson teaches courses on digital citizenship and media literacy for youth. In addition to Ethics in a Digital World, she has authored Digital Citizenship in Action: Empowering Students to Engage in Online Communities (International Society for Technology in Education, 2017). Mattson earned her EdD in curriculum and instruction leadership, MS in instructional design and technology, and BS in elementary and middle school teaching from Northern Illinois University.
A companion site for Digital Citizenship in Action is available on Mattson's website.