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Comp Tech - Ethics

Main Core Tie

Computer Technology I
Strand 5

Time Frame

5 class periods of 30 minutes each


Business Ed Lesson Plan Team


The Ethics School serves as a positive intervention for AUP violators. It consists of five 30-minute sessions that seek to improve perspective and personal responsibility in decisions relating to computer use (and beyond). Each has a session outline that details instructional procedures.


  • Referral forms
  • See each session below for a list of needed materials and files.

Instructional Procedures

The Ethics School is simply another vehicle to provide training in self-awareness and character development. By reading pertinent portions of the many excellent resources in this bibliography, teachers gain an important foundation in ethics as provided by these experts. I encourage you to buy and review each of these outstanding books and web resources.

Referral forms: Teacher or school supervisor fills out form for student who violates AUP. Administrator meets with student and determines course of action. Student may be referred to one or more sessions of The Ethics School. The first session is designed to be informational. The others are designed to be motivational.

Session 1- A bRight Idea: "I am a citizen of the Technology Community. I am responsible for what I need to know, and accountable for what I choose to do." (Willard, 2003, 5.) It is very possible that a violating student signed an AUP without a clear understanding of its requirements. This session introduces a "code of conduct" for industry, followed by a careful focus on the requirements of the school district AUP. Students are reminded that the "authentic self" cannot abide by a double standard. Which traits does the student claim as part of his/her identity? Which traits are actually displayed by his or her actions? Future actions while using a computer should be consistently ethical as a reflection of a positive self.


  • Outline
  • ACM Code of Conduct
  • AUP PowerPoint
  • Student Acceptable Use Policy
  • "I Am" Traits
  • Trait cards
  • Hand mirror for each participant
  • Dry Erase markers
  • Eraser cloths

Session 2 - A bRight Idea: "Living out your values can make a difference in the world. The difference can be positive or negative, depending on what values you choose to live by." (Bolin, 1990, 5.) Students have heard about "values," but did they know . . . values are not equal . . . when values are given priority ranking, sacrifice is often necessary . . . some values are better than others . . . values are acquired in different ways . . . students have power and responsibility to support positive values?


  • Session 2 Outline
  • Handout 2A
  • Handout 2B
  • Handout 2C
  • Student Summary
  • Glue stick

Session 3 - A bRight Idea: The future is hopeful. I can become a stable, secure adult who can express and share moral values and ethical principles. (Bolin, 1990, VII) In this goal-oriented lesson, the main activity incorporates the concepts of vision, motivation, obstacles, support, and rewards.


  • Session 3 Outline
  • Handout 3A
  • Student Summary
  • Crayons
  • small cut-outs of hands
  • glue stick
  • optional additional clip art

Session 3 - Handout 3A
Option A: Students use crayons to draw images of an adult and a teen within the outlines.
Option B: Open this file in Adobe Illustrator, then add "Colorful Kid" and "Colorful Man Pointing" clip art within the outlines. These can be found in the Art Explosion 600,000 collection by Nova Development (People/Cartoons category). Copyright restrictions do not allow me to post the images here.

Students may return this summary to administrator to verify attendance at Session 3. (Customize names and dates as needed.) Note: I include a glowing light bulb graphic in the text box.

Session 4 - A bRight Idea: I choose my behavior. I make the best choices when I deliberate about important factors. Impulsive actions can be mitigated by applying a formula for decision-making. This lesson suggests a series of links in a decision-making chain. In the important "deliberation stage," the lesson exposes the difference between Kohlberg's pre-conventional and post-conventional levels of moral development.


  • Attachments

Session 5 - A bRight Idea: Codes of conduct will greet me in the workplace. If I practice and prepare, I can successfully comply. It is our CTE obligation to constantly expose our students to career awareness and preparation. This session not only makes some quick references to career possibilities, but also makes it clear that ethical behavior is required in order to claim the resulting rewards.


  • Session 5 Outline
  • Handout 5A
  • Handout 5B
  • Student Summary
  • Student Career Guide (Utah Career Resource Network, Attention: Dr. Lynn Jensen, Project Director, C/O Davis Applied Technology Center, 550 East 300 South, Kaysville, UT 84037 Phone: 801-593-2599)


Please give credit to Salt Lake City School District Learning Plus and all sources listed in this bibliography in the event of further distribution of these mini-lessons and related materials.

  • Bolin, Frances Schoonmaker. Growing Up Caring. Peoria: Glencoe, 1990.
  • Bolin, Frances Schoonmaker, et. al. Growing Up Caring: Exploring Values and Decision Making. Teacher's Resource Binder. Peoria: Glencoe, 1990.
  • Gaspard, Michael. "Morality in Decision Making." 7/30.03.
  • Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University. Can Ethics Be Taught? 7/30/03.
  • Pfaffenberger, Bryan. Computers in Your Future. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002.
  • Shelly, Gary B., Thomas J. Cashman, Misty E. Vermaat. Discovering Computers 2003 Concepts for a Digital World. Boston: Course Technology, 2002.
  • Willard, Nancy E. Computer Ethics, Etiquette, & Safety For the 21st Century Student. Eugene: International Society for Technology in Education, 2002.
  • Willard, Nancy, M.S., J.D. "Choosing Not To Go Down the Not-so-good Cyberstreets." 7/30/2003.
  • Willard, Nancy. "Responsible Netizen Institute Philosophy and Approach." Responsible Netizen Institute, Eugene, Oregon. 7/30/03.

Created: 01/17/2011
Updated: 02/04/2018