1 York Associates (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Berlin School of Economics and Law (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2021 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 3447-3456
ISBN: 978-84-09-27666-0
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2021.0716
Conference name: 15th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 8-9 March, 2021
Location: Online Conference
The comprehensive digitalisation of society and economy is a chance to transform technological leadership into the digital era. Above all, it requires a solid education in basic digital skills and core competencies. Our technology-driven world, where we are increasingly interwoven with technologies that are no longer just tools but have become part of our identity, it is essential that these digital skills are complemented with ethical thinking. This touches the understanding of different norms, values and ethical perspectives, and especially their implications for the design and usage of technology.

There are two main challenges behind the imperative of digital ethical thinking. On the one hand, technology cannot be neutral because it includes the values of their creators. Those who design, develop, deploy, and control technology have a particular, monocular cultural perspective that is imbued into technology. On the other hand, different cultures have different ethical perspectives. It is not possible to be ethical from competing ethical perspectives at the same time.

Teaching learners in the field of today's technologies means teaching digital-ethical basics in a target group-oriented manner in addition to the necessary basic knowledge. This ethical knowledge is particularly important in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some current AI applications have the ability to make autonomous decisions that can limit our freedom or free will. The aim of digital ethical thinking should be to increase awareness of ethical issues and their moral implications, the so-called digital ethical self-awareness. As a result, both AI developers and AI users can make better decisions. Therefore, one of the most fundamental demands in dealing with AI will be more easily met, namely to have ethically-correct solutions that avoid discrimination and bias, protect our privacy, and preserve our free will.

One suitable approach to learn and teach digital ethical thinking could be through gamification. In this context, game-based learning allows for a playful experience of ethical implications and combines them with the learning of basic ethical, culturally dependent views. In this paper, we develop a taxonomy of ethic games that fosters self-awareness in digital ethical thinking. The taxonomy demonstrates types and subtypes of ethical games, and can be used as a pathway for teaching ethical awareness. These ethic games help learners recognise the differences between ethical frameworks, and understand which of these frameworks they most naturally align themselves with. The three main ethical frameworks examine how ethical problems are dealt with by using them. The games develop from the general to the particular as they go higher up in the taxonomy. On the top, the taxonomy includes different ways in which ethical disputes can be solved by expanding the scope of the frameworks so that connections and agreement can be found between them.

Additionally, we comment on the design of a first prototype for one of the possible ethic games together with a validation by selected learners. The goal is to evaluate the taxonomy and gather feedback on how to implement all other ethic games in the near future. With this, digital ethical thinking can become an integral part of teaching digital skills to empower the employability of each digital citizen.
Digital ethics, ethical thinking, gamification, STEAM education.