Ethical Issues in Educational Technology

The most current assignment was to do a VoiceThread on Digital Inequality.  This was group project.  My group consisted of Ron Gardiner, Mike Procyk, Beth Russell, Brian O’Neill and me.  This is the link to the VoiceThread:

http://voicethread.com/#q.b2752878

The scenario we were given is that our group are members of a Digital Inequality Task Force hired by our State Superintendent of Public Instruction to make recommendations on how to best utilize a special allocation of $50M to address digital inequalities in the state.

This was a three-week project.  The first week involved a lot of reading about Digital Inequality.  I mean A LOT OF READING.  By the end of the week, we were discussing our thoughts on Digital Inequality and the options given to us.  At times, it seemed like we would never come to an agreement as there was much debate (especially between Mike and me) over the options.  However, all of us maintained a civility that is uncommon today in many debates.  Turns out, Mike and I actually were in more agreement than we initially believed.  From our discussion, we came up with a ranking order of the 7 options.

The second week was dedicated to planning our presentation.  I felt the first priority was to elect a group leader who would keep track of what needed done and delegate assignments.  I nominated Ron because I believe he had the best grasp of the issue from the previous week’s discussions.  Plus, being a former military person, I know he had experienced leading diverse groups.  Ron was agreeable and no one else stated any objections.

Ron started by creating an agenda that everyone began to add to.  Well, almost everyone.  Turns out there are TWO Brian O’Neill’s at Boise State and we had the wrong one to start.  Once we figured that out, we contacted the correct Brian and he quickly got on board.  Amazingly enough, the group was so well in sync with one another, that whenever someone posted an addition to the agenda, it was accepted by the group as being an appropriate step.

The final week was the creation of the VoiceThread.  Ron started the thread by creating a power point presentation.  Everyone added to it, just like the agenda.  I was delegate as production chief, so I kept track of where we were and assigned commentary roles within the thread.  Also, we had a checklist for the rubric to make sure we didn’t forget any required procedure.

This project started off slow for me.  At times I was frustrated when things were not going smoothly.  The group, especially Beth, kept me in check and focused on the task.  In the end, I think our group created a well thought out presentation.  Not any easy task when we had one member 9 hours ahead of us and another (after we found the right one) 3 hours behind.  We literally covered half the world.

When Dr. Gardner first developed groups, I asked if they would change for different projects.  He said he wasn’t planning on it, but would consider it.  Well, Doc, I changed my mind.  I think our group meshes well together and I would like to finish the semester with them (no offense to the other classmates in other groups).

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