The Wild West in Digital Education

Researchers at the Harvard School of Education led by Howard Gardner are carrying out the GoodPlay Project to probe into how young students’ use of digital media affects the development of their “ethical minds.” They are studying five main areas: identity, privacy, ownership or authorship, credibility and belonging to a community, with authorship and community being the most important questions in their discoveries so far.

In this interview, Gardner draws attenttion to something unprecedented in human history. Ethics and morality are lost in the faceless crowd of social-networking sites, blogs, online games, Wikipedia, and virtual worlds, such as Second Life. Along with this, there's a broad shift in how people think of authorship and information in an environment that everything can be changed. These issues have emerged while digital media is still evolving so people can hide behind ignorance. As teachers, however, we can help learners confront the consequences of their actions. Both teachers and stakeholders need to warn against the superficial use of resources and continue to educate reflective, thoughtful citizens. The implications for educators are on the table and the findings of the GoodPlay Project will help us restore order to the Wild West in Digital Education.

Education, Social Media, and Ethics: Howard Gardner, Harvard Graduate School of EducationEducation Week on Vimeo.

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