In a technology-driven and digital society, getting information quickly is important to both instructors and students. The expansion and everyday use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) have made it possible to quickly and instantly find information, share ideas among peer groups, allow instructors to easily interact with their students, and provide them with enabling platform for research and exploring new ideas. According to FBI-Internet Crime Complaint Center, Nigeria ranked third in the world after US and UK, in internet fraudulent activities. Yet, there is no cyber security law to checkmates these issues locally.
Thus, government should work closely with the ICT community (NCC, NITDA, NigComSat, Galaxy backbone,Telecoms firms, and Consultants), in conjunction with legal community, to enact appropriate cybercrime laws. The write-up, bring to light the importance and application of mobile gadgets in learning process, issues associated with using mobile devices and ways to combat them. Keywords: Digital society, learning, students, instructors, education, mobile gadgets.
Mobile gadgets and phones can be a double-edge sword; the two can be used as a source of many benefits, for instance, the ease with which digital information can be analyzed, transmitted, and shared among numerous people and groups. On the other hand, they can be used to create ways of breaking laws or taking benefits away from others. For example, sending unsolicited e-mails is one of the compelling ethical issues raised by contemporary mobile gadgets users. Generally, information and communication technology (ICT) and the used of mobile gadgets are applied for the good of humankind; however it can also be abused and used as a tool for felony (L&N Long, 2005). Thus, the evolution of mobile gadgets have generated intense controversy and raised serious issues about information and communication technology ethics. An ethical individual accepts and lives by a set of moral principles and values.
These principles define what is socially accepted as “good” and on the other hand what is “bad”, until today society continues to raise questions about what is or not ethical in the used of information technology gadgets. These issues are so important to our society, to the extent that educators see it as core subject that shall be integrated into college curricula. Educators believe that, if members of the society are made aware of the consequences of their actions, then there would be only fewer(marginal) people that will be motivated to commit computer crimes, contaminate systems with false information, post pornographic material to the internet, or abuse sanctity of intellectual property (K & J Laudon, 2003). .
Ethics, Education, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Ethics in information technology “can be defined as the moral conducts and decisions confronting individuals, groups or institutions engaged in information and communication technology (ICT) practices (Martin M. 2009). It could also be defined as the study of moral ideals, character, policies and relationships of people and institutions involved in the activities of information and communication technology (Martin M. 2009). Whereas; educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources (AECT, 2004). Conversely, information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be defined as a set of technological tools and resources used to communicate, create, disseminate, store and manage information.
These technologies include internet, tablet computers, smart phones, and broadcasting technologies such as radio and television (Kukulska-Hulme et. al. 2005). The use of ICT (mobile gadgets and phones) for a range of different learning processes has been the prime concern of every right-thinking individual in this era. It is realized that, mobile gadgets and phones could add a completely new dimension to the teaching and learning process due to a wide range of attributes, such as being portable, ubiquitous, pervasiveness and the functions such as voice, video and data services, camera, video, radio, and the internet connectivity (Kukulska-Hulme et. al. 2005). Besides, Bressler, D, et.al. (2007) states that youth should be the target and first priority user group of mobile based teaching and learning, because research showed that teenagers and college students have a higher interest in every mobile phone activity than any other age group. Research Questions:
This text endeavor to address the following questions raised by mobile gadgets and users: I. What ethical, social, and political issue arises by the uses of mobile technology gadgets? II. What are the specific codes of conduct that may be used to guide decision about cybercrime? III. Why do contemporary mobile gadgets pose challenges to the protection of individual rights and intellectual property? IV. How do mobile gadgets affect everyday life of instructors and students? V. How could mobile gadgets allow continuous access to education and reach marginalized groups of a society? RQ1-What ethical, social, and political issues arises by the uses of mobile technology gadgets?
Ethical, social, and political issues are closely linked together. The ethical dilemma we may face in our academic system typically is reflected in social and political settings of the society (K & J Laudon, 2003). Let’s imagine our society, in which we are all living before the advent and penetration of mobile gadgets as a calm pond, an ecosystem in partial equilibrium with individual, society, and political institutions. Under this condition, everyone knows how to act in this pond because social institutions (family, colleges, polytechnics, universities, and organizations) have developed well-honed rules of behaviors and these are backed by laws developed in the political zone of the society that stipulate different do and promises appropriate penalty for violation any of the laid down policy and guiding principles.
Now, information technologies development tosses a rock into the pond. The forces and pulsation as a result of tossing rock (mobile gadgets evolution) into the ponds, which is a powerful shock of new information technology revolutions that hit our social systems which is more or less (at rest or partial equilibrium) and thus generates positive and negative pulses. Suddenly, individuals, and society are confronted with new situations often not covered by the old laws (rules and code of conduct of the nation). The figure below portrays moral dimensions that connect ethical, social and political issues (K & J Laudon, 2003). Figure 1: Moral Dimensions (Ethical, Social, & Political) Issues Related To Mobile Gadgets:
Excerpt from: Essential of Management Information Systems, Fifth Edition.
Information /Property rights and obligations: what information rights do individual or institutions posses with respect to the information about themselves? What can they protect? How will traditional intellectual property be protected in a digital society in which accounting of ownership is difficult? Accountability and Control: who will be held responsible and liable for the harm done to individual, institutions and collective information and property rights? System and Life Quality: what services should we demand to protect individual rights and the safety of the society? What services and practices are supported and accepted by the society?
RQ2- What are the specific codes of conducts that can be used to guide decision about cybercrime? Cybercrime can be referred to as the use of mobile gadgets or computers and internet to commit illicit act. Cybercrime (computer assisted crime) includes e-mail scams, hacking, distribution of hostile software (viruses and worms), denial of service(DoS) attacks, theft of data, fraud and impersonation, online auction fraud, phishing, child pornography, espionage (theft of trade secrets), cyber contraband and so on (Uwaje Chris, 2009). With the proliferation of mobile gadgets that allow easy access to internet and online resources, it becomes more disturbing because the cyber space, through which these crimes are perpetuated, is not defined by political or geographical boundaries, thus enacting or amending laws to curb them becomes a challenge.
According to FBI-Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3 report, 2009), Nigeria ranked third in the world after US and UK, in internet fraudulent activities. Yet, there is no cyber security law to checkmate these issues locally. Similarly, Ewelukwa (2012), lamented that various legislative bills before the National Assembly, aimed at preventing cybercrime, have been neglected by the lawmakers including “The Computer Security and Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Bill 2005 sponsored by the Executive failed to become law (Ewelukwa, 2012).
Ewelukwa (2012) further stated “Other related legislative bills that have not yet been passed by the National Assembly include the Cyber Security and Data Protection Agency (Establishment, etc) Bill 2008, Electronic Fraud Prohibition Bill 2008, Nigeria Computer Security and Protection Agency Bill 2009, and the Computer Misuse Bill 2009. Cyber security entails all measures taken proactively to prevent and ensure safety from cyber attacks and related crimes. Cyber attacks vary and evolve on daily basis with advances in ICT gadgets.
Therefore, government should work closely with the ICT community (NCC, NITDA, NigComSat, Galaxy Backbone, Telecoms firms, Experts and Consultants), legal community, to enact appropriate cybercrime laws, and expedite action to sign the aforementioned bills into laws. Thus, would boost the nation’s image before the online community and globally.
RQ3- Why do contemporary mobile gadgets pose challenges to the protection of individual right and intellectual property? Ethical issues have long preceded the evolution of information technology, they are the abiding concerns of every society everywhere on earth, nevertheless, information technology has raised and heightened ethical concerns, put stress on existing social arrangement, and made existing law obsolete or severely crippled. There are three key technological trends that are responsible for these ethical traumas (K & J Laudon, 2003): I. Increases in Computing Power: Everyday people are getting possession of different mobile gadgets for their day to day undertakings (research works, businesses, leisure and entertainment), due to invention of high powered gadgets with varieties of features made available by the manufacturers.
II. Advancement in Data Analysis & Declining Data Storage Costs: it is clear that with contemporary information systems technology and data analysis techniques, one can assemble and combine myriad pieces of information about an individual much more easily than in the past. For instances, information about an individual such as credit card purchases, telephone calls, magazine subscriptions, video rentals, mail order purchases, banking records, local, state, and federal governments(including court and police records), can all be gathered and mined properly. III. Networking and advances in Internet: sharing and accessing large quantities of data over the internet, open the possibility of mining large pools of data remotely using mobile gadgets, and thus permitting the invasion of privacy of others.
RQ4- How do mobile gadgets affect everyday life of instructors and students? ICT and mobile gadgets in schools, colleges and universities have affected everyday life of both instructors and students, either in positive or negative directions as pointed out below: Students can record homework and assignments on their phone calendar. Help instructors to monitor their lecture schedules.
Use of camera functions in geography and physical sciences subjects to records things and report back to class. Some teachers learned to teach in different ways with an emphasis on independent study, and thus incorporated mobile gadgets in their lessons. Disruption during lectures in cyber- bullying one another using text and blackberry messaging(BBM) Spiteful comments or spreading malicious gossips.
Some students used mobile gadgets (for fashion) to chase opposite sexes
RQ5- How could mobile gadgets allow continuous access to education and reach marginalized groups of a society? It would be very difficult or impossible for the conventional (class-room) delivery method of education to provide continuous and educational opportunities for majority members of a society. ICTs and mobile gadgets have the answers and potential to help reach this objective. They are portable, pervasive, personal, affordable, ubiquitous, and interactive and hence, instruction can be delivered anywhere and at anytime through it. Moreover, it is an aid to formal and informal learning, it supplement and enrich formal schooling, make learning more accessible, personalized and flexible for students everywhere. And thus holds enormous potential to transform the delivery of teaching and learning process.
Mobile devices can overcome geographic, social, and infrastructure barriers to reach populations, and marginalized groups by providing them with access to further learning and development. These devices facilitate distance learning in situations where access to education is difficult or interrupted because of geographical barriers. And therefore, m-learning or mobile learning, offers modern ways to support learning process through mobile devices, such as handheld tablet computers, MP3/MP4 players, smart phones and mobile phones. And thus, a mobile gadget is not only a device, but a door to greater education and continuous interactive learning process.
Advantages of using Mobile Gadgets:
Students, teachers, and researchers have many reasons to consider using mobile gadgets, since these devices are one of the most versatile electronics gadgets in the market today. Besides the obvious communication advantages, mobile phones have features, such as cameras and internet accessibility, that can help students and researchers in all aspects of their learning processes, from their studies to their social and professional lives and practices. Kat Stafford (2013) stated in his write-up some advantages of mobile phone to college students, among which are: emergency communication, parental connection, studying and research, capture memories, social and professional networking and organization. Issues and Crimes Associated with Mobile Gadgets:
As cell phones have rapidly become ubiquitous in everyday life, the issue of cell phones in school has become a hotly debated topic. Many disadvantages also exist concerning student cell phone use, Rebecca Richards (2012), mentioned few such as: causes distractions, exams cheating, e-mail scams, pornography and cyber contraband.
Provision of redundant internet services (both wired & wireless) in our various institutions of learning using technology such as WIFI, or WIMAX, to facilitate learning processes using ICT gadgets. Universities, polytechnics, COEs, and other institution of learning should use proper network administrative tools to police students over inappropriate use of services provided to them; it can equally ban and restrict access to ALL social networks that can cause distractions to their studies.
Use of software tools like web anonymizers (such as Psiphon, Surfola, Silent Surf, and Merletn) to hide user tracks from their predators. Every institution should review its code of conducts to include contemporary netiquettes, so that students and researchers are made aware of the cause of actions of every crime they committed. Likewise, at national level government should work closely with the ICT community (NCC, NITDA, NigComSat, Galaxy Backbone, Telecoms and IT firms, Experts and Consultants) and Legal community to enact appropriate cybercrime laws, and expedite action to sign all the legislative bills before them into laws.
While there are enormous benefits to be gained out of mobile gadgets in terms of m-learning, enrichment, portability and flexibility in using ICTs throughout formal educational systems, there is even greater value to be gained in using the mobile technologies to increase access to millions of instructional resources who are currently outside the educational footprints.
A combination of mobile technologies and relevant applications softwares, have the potential to overcome the barriers of time, distance, and allow adult education for those who have not been properly educated and now wish to be informed, well educated, trained or enlightened. It is apparent that ICTs offer opportunities not available previously to educators, using tools such as e-mail; Webinar, audio-video, computer–conferencing, both synchronously and asynchronously. With aid of ICT and appropriate set of application tools, a very rich interactive and learning environment can be created that allows learners to dictate their pace of learning, or place of learning.
While the ICT tools empower our communities, they need not take away the role of the instructors or research supervisors; instead, students, firms, researchers and instructors should come together for a common purpose, work collaboratively with clearly defined roles on a shared platform to attain the set objectives of any kind. These communities encompass all levels and sectors of human endeavor, from basic education to postgraduate studies, from teacher training to business studies, and from non formal studies to language instruction, companies and research institutes. However, only infrastructure, fiscal resources, and policy support, would inhibit exploitation of this potential. And thus, an ICT world is an exciting planet of continuous learning process.
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