Professor Howard Gardner and the GoodPlay Project recently released a casebook of curricular materials called, Our Space: Being a Responsible Citizen of the Digital World. Our Space is a curriculum designed to encourage high school students to reflect on the ethical dimensions of their participation in new media environments such as Facebook, YouTube, online games, and blogs.
“We have found that youth are interested in [digital media] issues and freely admit that often they don't know enough to do what is proper,” Gardner says. “More, their parents and teachers often don't know either.”
The curriculum contains role-playing activities and reflective exercises that invite youth to consider the ethical responsibilities of other people online and whether and how they behave ethically themselves online. These are raised in relation to five core themes and units in the curriculum: identity, privacy, authorship and ownership, credibility, and participation. The curricular units and lessons are free and available for download. For more information, visit http://www.goodworkproject.org/practice/our-space/ or http://newmedialiteracies.org/our-space-being-a-responsible.php.
In 2006, with funding from the MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning initiative, Our Space was developed by the GoodPlay Project, a research project led by Gardner focused on digital ethics and housed at Project Zero, and Project New Media Literacies, led by USC Professor Henry Jenkins. Project New Media Literacies was established at MIT and is now housed at the USC Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.
The research explored people’s views on the digital landscape, especially with youth and children. “Cyberspace is so new that it is like the wild west -- it is not clear that norms established in face to face contact over many years can simply be transplanted to cyberspace,” says Carrie James, codirector of the GoodPlay Project. “Particular qualities of the digital world suggest the need for a greater sense of responsibility about one's actions there, such as the public and persistent nature of content posted online, the distance between one's actions and their effects on others, and opportunities for anonymity.”
Researchers at Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and University of Southern California spent three years developing the materials of the curriculum. Our Space is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.