THE ETHICS OF EDUCATION AND ITS FUNCTION WITHIN VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

E. Isidori, M. Cacchiarelli

University of Rome Foro Italico (ITALY)
The invention and development of the Web 2.0 and contemporary technology advances in teaching and learning based on virtual learning environments have shaped education and its ethics in a radical way. This radical revolution has increased not only the amount of information available, the access to it and ways of learning, but it has also raised many ethical issues that are by no means simple to resolve. Actually, the computer-mediated communication has altered the approaches of certain key political, economical, cultural and educational agencies and their practices such as politics, economics, education, arts, sports, and so on, involving and affecting human ethics.

The understanding and comprehension of this alteration is crucial in the ethics of education, where the use of computers for teaching purposes, virtual reality and social networks as main current communication environment and way to share knowledge raise many issues and challenges. Through moral reasoning and deconstruction, ethics as a human science has to reflect upon these challenges and changes produced by the ICT technologies, and to generally understand and comprehend the aims, goals, purposes and meanings of education within these new teaching and learning environments.

Starting from this framework and after briefly defining the role and function of ethics as a science within contemporary digital education practices, we will examine all possible issues ethics can address within the context of new virtual learning environments. The study will be carried out utilizing a hermeneutical and deconstructive methodology aimed to stress paradoxes and contradictions of education within Web 2.0-based learning environments, and to sketch a possible ethical guidance for teachers and students.