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Ethics, Social media and Teacher Education

This project “Ethics, Social media and Teacher Education” has developed as a result of international collaboration with Monash University, Melbourne, Australia (http://www.monash.edu.au/). The project has its background in the role of digital competence as one of the five basic competencies in the “Knowledge Promotion” (Kunnskapsløftet) (see e.g., Krumsvik, 2009b). The Knowledge Promotion is the ongoing reform within the Norwegian 10-year compulsory school and upper secondary education and training. The reform introduces changes in how digital competencies should be a part of the substance, structure and organization of teaching from the first grade in the 10-year compulsory school to the last grade in upper secondary education and training. Research has shown that the role of the teacher is one of the most vital parts of student academic outcomes (see e.g. Hattie, 2009). Simultaneously, the Norwegian school system prioritises information and communication technologies (ICT) high (Almås & Krumsvik, 2008). The role of digital competence is therefore an essential part of teacher education, as can be illustrated in the Digital literacy model (Krumsvik, 2008, 2009a).

In the same way as teachers are role models in the application of ICT, such as teaching students ritual versus academic use, teachers are also role model in the use of social media in an ethical manner. Some studies have shown how students evaluate the participation of teachers in social media and their level of motivation, affective learning and classroom climate (see e.g., Mazer, Murphy, & Simonds, 2009). Few if any studies have however investigated the role of ethical reasoning among teacher students and their actual participation in social media. One pilot project has been conducted in Australia among teacher students (Morris, 2010). The aim of this international collaboration project is to understand the role of ethics in the decision to participate in social media as a teacher student. The project will take form of a cross cultural comparison of Australian and Norwegian teacher education students.

Overarching research questions – Investigate:

  • Whether the professional same issues and ethical considerations are prevalent in Australia and Norway.
  • Whether there is a strong awareness of privacy/professionalism in the use of Facebook in teacher students in Australia and Norway.
  • Reports in the media about teachers engaging with students on Facebook in Australia and Norway.
  • Compare professional codes of conduct for teachers in Norway compared to Australia.
  • Compare cultural contexts  first in order to decide to add other items into scales (based on the PIBS; Morris & Richardson, 2010), to allow for differences in professional codes/cultural differences.

Specific details:

  • Initiated by Associate Professor Brita Bjørkelo and Zoe Morris, PhD Candidate and FIT-Choice Research Assistant at the Faculty of Education, Monash University; and her supervisors Associate Professors Paul Richardson & Helen Watt.
  • Translation of Morris & Richardson’s  pilot scale called Professional Interactions and Behaviour Scale (PIBS) developed in an Australian context into Norwegian. Validation is to be undertaken in Australia by the end of 2010.
  • Collect data from Australia and Norway. The Australian and Norwegian sample will consist of 3rd and 4th year undergraduate pre-service secondary teaching students.
  • Scientific articles will be co-authored by the participants in the project.