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Ethical EdTech is a collaborative wiki of technology for ethical pedagogy. Much of what passes for educational technology is designed for purposes of profit-seeking, surveillance of students, and user lock-in. Other kinds of technology exist, but they typically lack the marketing and sales budgets of competing vendors. This is a directory, created by and for higher-ed educators, for sharing tools and use-cases. We believe that education can be a critical site through which to transform the broader tech industry and the cultures surrounding it.

Guiding questions

We don't have hard-and-fast criteria for inclusion. Rather, we look for technologies that offer satisfying answers to ethical questions like these:

  • Where does power lie, and where are we expected to place our trust?
  • To whom is it accessible—for instance, in terms of usability and cost?
  • Does it lock us into closed, commercial systems or invite us into open communities?
  • Does it give us more control over the learning process, or does it cede that control?
  • Does it respect and protect our privacy appropriately?
  • Can we access, study, and modify the underlying code or design?
  • Who owns the infrastructure and our usage data? Does it produce private profit or public commons?

We do not ask these questions with the expectation of reaching a perfect or universally agreed-upon set of digital tools or rules. Tools by themselves do not guarantee ethical pedagogy, and we do not deny that tools not included here can be used in ethical ways. Rather, we seek to point out tools that can norms might become more easily within reach.

For more resources on these topics, see our Syllabus page.

Who is we?

Ethical EdTech emerged out of a collaboration between Erin Glass (UCSD) and Nathan Schneider (CU Boulder). It is a project of CU Boulder's Media Enterprise Design Lab.

To see who else is taking part, browse the active user list here.

This community operates by “lazy consensus.” Good-faith users may proceed with contributing improvements to the wiki as they see fit. Periodic community check-ins through video chats and edit-a-thons allow space for community members to discuss, debate, and coordinate, but the lazy-consensus mindset allows the project to maintain momentum and grow by empowering its participants.