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Abstract

Abstract

This poster paper presents the scenarios produced by members of the International Association for Mobile Learning to support researchers in considering how to address ethical issues that may well arise during mobile learning projects. Ethical issues in researching mobile learning are a concern as: - handheld devices provide multiple opportunities for access to personal information including images and location; - their portability creates issues with boundaries such as those between college or school time and home time; - they link to both real and virtual contexts and - the full range of their capabilities are often poorly understood. In addition, the classic approach of adhering to a fixed code of ethical conduct such as those published by the American or British educational research associations or having your proposed methods first evaluated by an ethics committee does not deal well with the ever changing contexts that so often arise in mobile learning research. Ways forward centre on professional development for researchers to ensure they are fully aware of their responsibilities for the protection of participants data, their privacy and personal information even when the participants themselves share such information widely through social networking and other online tools. To this end six scenarios for use in researcher training or with interested students were generated by a group of experts at Mlearn 2012 in Helsinki and have been made freely available on the International Association for Mobile Learning's website at http://www.iamlearn.org/ethical-issues-mobile-learning/research-planning for wide dissemination. Each scenario addresses specific issues that may become a concern as outlined below. Scenario: Where do you stop? Issues addressed: Boundaries between formal and informal learning situations, public or private spaces, home and school or college environments, real and virtual contexts etc. Scenario: Whose story is it? Issues addressed: Maintaining the need for anonymity versus respecting participants' desire to self-publish and their need for a digital identity. Scenario: Who Pays? Issues addressed: People who are differently able / less educated /come from different cultures etc. and what this means regarding costs e.g. for devices to access internet and cultural pressures. Scenario: Who does it belong to? Issues addressed: Ownership and author rights - whose data is on the mobile or on the server, who owns it, what about any images it contains? Is the owner the person taking the picture or is it the person in the picture? Scenario: Whoops-a-daisy! Issues addressed: Risk analysis - the unexpected consequences of complexity caused by following up people using mobile devices in a wide range of contexts and the need to proceed iteratively and flexibly. Scenario: What does 'informed consent' really mean? Issues addressed: Participants' awareness (or lack thereof) of their own device's capabilities, what data is being logged etc., informed consent and opportunities to listen to participant voice. More details on ways forward for using scenarios such as these with students and/or practitioners will be reported here at MLearn 2013 with Trish Andrews and Laurel Dyson (Andrews, Dyson and Wishart, 2013). Lastly, in addition to specific training, these scenarios can also be used to promote conversations with senior management around the ethical issues that are of concern to lecturers, teachers and researchers in order to support the development of any appropriate local policy and practical responses.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qproc.2013.mlearn.37
2013-10-01
2019-08-22
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