Oslo & Akershus University of Applied Sciences (NORWAY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2016 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 6244-6251
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0421
Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain
In this paper we present findings from a preliminary study of teachers’ understanding of cyber ethics. According to the revised Norwegian curriculum (2006; 2012) teachers in Norway have to incorporate cyber ethics in all subjects in school. In the Norwegian curriculum, cyber ethics includes knowledge about copyright laws online, privacy and data protection online, source awareness and being aware of how to behave online, a term that is often described as netiquette. To a certain extent cyber ethics represents an innovation in terms of school, with mostly new and explicit content that are highlighted by developments in technology and increased use of social media.

The article is based on interview data from five teachers from different primary and secondary schools in Oslo, Norway. The aim of this article is to gain insight into how teachers in school understand the concept of cyber ethics and how they practice and develop pupils’ cyber. We approach our study from a “diffusion of innovations” (DOI) perspective (Rogers 1995). This perspective has been used to understand why various innovations have been adopted, or not been adopted, and who adopts an innovation. This approach has also been applied in the field of education and educational technologies (Sahin, 2006; Surry & Farquhar, 1997).

Our findings indicate that characteristics of the innovation such as complexity hinder diffusion, while compatibility eases its entry into practice. Teachers primarily address some of the ethical and moral aspects of cyber ethics: source criticism and digital bullying and netiquette. These are aspects that already are traditionally grounded in school. Source criticism is a natural part of Norwegian language learning and Social Science. Schools have traditionally had strageties against bullying, and cyber bullying is, to a certain extent, an extension of bullying. Teachers report that they take up cyber bullying issues, as well as netiquette issues, when something happens.

The legal aspects of cyber ethics, such as copyright and privacy, are complex and less visible in teachers’ approaches to working with cyber ethics in class. The teachers pointed out that they had little knowledge of copyright, and therefore difficult to communicate this aspect of cyber ethics in teaching. Furthermore, the teachers’ understanding of privacy was fragmented, and communicated through the use of external content providers.

Cyber ethics is relatively well defined in the Norwegian curriculum and it is therefore, to some extent, surprising that teachers do not have a more holistic understanding of the cyber ethics. Cyber ethics has limited diffusion in education and in school. Regarding digital judgment as an innovation has given us insight into teachers’ understand and practice of cyber ethics, and the issues at stake in why only certain aspects are implemented, and diffused, and why others are not.

[1] Rogers, E.M. (1995) Diffusion of innovations. (4th ed.). New York: Free Press.
[2] Sahin, I. (2006). Detailed review of Rogers' diffusion of innovations theory and educational technology-related studies based on Rogers' theory. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 5(2): p.14-23. 2006
[3] Surry, D. W. & Farquhar, J.D (1997) Diffusion theory and instructional technology. Journal of Instructional Science and Technology (2) 1
Cyber ethics, teachers.