TechEthics 24/7-Students Create a Code of Conduct

September is an exciting time for Maine 7th graders because they FINALLY get their own laptops. They dutifully sign the acceptable use policy (after reading it thoroughly and discussing it with their parents, of course!) and wait breathlessly for us to put that shiny white MacBook into their hands. They promise never to play games during school on it or go to inapropriate sites. Then off they go with good intentions and little understanding of ethical technology use.

Our AUP is a good first step but it’s crucial that we involve students in the development of a code of ethics for technology use. Our AUP refers to the laptop- but students have so much other technology available to them that we need to encompass it all as we teach them not only how to use it, but how to use it ethically.  My goal is to separate the expecations for behavior in school and out of school and create a culture of responsible technology use 24/7. This year this will happen on day 1.

Our school has adopted the RISC model. As part of this model students are involved in the creation of classroom codes of conduct which are referred to regularly throughout the year. We’ll be branching off of this and creating a Technology Code of Ethics to help guide students to make good decisions when no one is there to watch them. In a nutshell, here’s how it will work:

  • As students enter the room, they will be given a closed envelope with a scenario in it. This will be used to create discussion groups later on in the lesson.
  • Students will determine what values are important to them in general, and then will align those with behavior with technology.We’ll use a Wiffiti screen on the whiteboard to collect the original values- then edit the text in the values so the technology behavior is in the same post.
  • They will look at a series of scenarios involving ethical questions that arise when using technology and discuss what they should do versus what they might actually do.
  • They’ll determine as a class  their 3 or 4 most important values. I will collect the data from all three classes and put it into Wordle format. We’ll use this to narrow down the most important values and create a written code of conduct- what they will actually DO (or at least try to do) while using technology of all kinds.

We’ll post this around the school in written form, and I’ll post it on our classroom website so they have the opportunity to see it often.

I based this lesson plan around one created by Amanda Gentine at 

Sample technology scenarios


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