Educating for ICT4S: Unpacking Sustainability and Ethics of ICT Student Intakes

Mann, S
Lopez, M
Lopez, D
Smith, N
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Conference Contribution
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Atlantis Press

A key focus in transforming the profession of ICT to one of contributing to a sustainable future is the education of students who may think and act as sustainable practitioners in computing. An important understanding in this is the relationship between ethics and sustainability in the student intake. This forms a baseline upon which higher education can build. It is argued that sustainability can be considered ethics expanded in time and space but it is not previously known if an ethical understanding relates to an ecological worldview or to desires for contributing to sustainability. This paper reports on a survey of the first year intake of nine New Zealand polytechnics (n=256) and explores the link between ethics and sustainability in freshman students in their first week of higher education. A measure of ethical naivety was constructed based on standard measures of naive ethics (legalism, egoism, agency and relativism), the responses to this were compared to the standard measure of ecological worldview, the New Environmental Paradigm. While students can be considered pro-ecological, and not ethically naïve overall, the individual responses show much work is needed in education for ICT4S. A greater sophistication in ethics is associated with a more pro-ecological worldview is supported by the data, however, as the relationship is likely to account for only 20%, the implication for education for ICT4S is that both need deliberate acts of teaching.

Education; New Environmental Paradigm; Ethics; Ecological worldview
29th International Conference on Informatics for Environmental Protection (EnviroInfo 2015), Third International Conference on ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S 2015), Copenhagen, Denmark, 7-9 September 2015, pp. 229-241.
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This is an open access article distributed under the CC BY-NC license.