Code of Technology Ethics for Educators

A Project for the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana
EPS 304/399 Summer 2001 with Nick Burbules

Tamara Barcalow, Melissa Creech, George Gerrietts, Mike Marassa, Paulette Sallas, Marty Sierra-Perry, Bryan Weinert


A printer friendly pdf version of this code is available for download

Statement of Intent


Glossary of Terms
On-line Resources





Since technology and computers have become an important part of our daily lives, it is equally important that technology be fused into the education process. Not only must educators exhibit ethical excellence in how technology is used in their profession, but educators must instill the same standards in their students.


Statement of Intent

This Code will serve to guide educators in achieving ethical conduct while using computers in education. This document will provide educators with standards of conduct that govern their relationship with technology and their obligation to the communities they serve.




I. Application of Technology


Standard 1. Educators shall use district technologies to improve the overall quality of the education they provide.


Rationale: Educators strive to help students acquire, practice, and use new information in the best possible learning environments and with the best possible set of tools.Technology is one of those tools.It should be carefully infused to enhance and improve upon the current educational process.Technology should not be used just because it is available, but rather it should be woven into the curriculum to accomplish both new and existing goals or when the technology itself helps motivate to the students.


Standard 2. Educators shall follow the national, state, and district guidelines for infusing technology into their respective curriculum.


Rationale: The field of Education, takes its direction for instructional practices, including the use of technology, from national, state, and district guidelines.These guidelines provide an outline of the general content areas and skills to be taught and provide a general timeline for each.By acquiring the appropriate teacher certification and accepting a job in a school district, educators have an obligation to follow the guidelines that the district provides.


II. Access


Standard 1: Educators shall provide equal access to technology for all students.

Rationale: As educators we are obligated to provide equal access to all of our students regardless of their personal characteristics, behavior, intelligence, or success in school. In addition, the quantity (time/number of computers) and quality (types of experiences) shall be considered. The primary use of technology should not be as a tool to reward the students who finish their class work the fastest, but as an opportunity for all students to engage in interactive uses of the available technologies. Educators of all students, including those with special needs should be supported and encouraged to use technology in their teaching.


Technology access in schools is important before and after the school day as well as during class time. Equal access to these school resources should be provided to all students.


Standard 2: Educators shall work to provide equitable technology resources to all students.

Rationale: All students, regardless of where they live, should have access to similar resources. Technology is expensive for many students and their families, and many students do not have access to these resources at home. Solving the inequities between studentís home lives and personal finances is too big a job for schools, but schools can find ways to minimize these differences. Keeping computer labs open before and after school gives all students a chance to learn with technology outside of the classroom. Checking technology tools out to students and working with other community groups, through parternships, are other ways to provide access to all students.For example, old computers can be donated to schools and students in need.

Educators should also be advocates for solving the funding discrepancies between schools. Depending on where they happen to live, students have very different technology experiences. Most districts try to provide many technology tools for students, but many districts are limited by funding in what they can provide. Programs such as E-Rate, which offers telecommunications and information resources at a discount depending on the need of the school, should be encouraged.


Standard 3: Educators shall use Internet filters and blocking software in the least restrictive manner possible where the studentsí rights to access information without censorship are balanced with their safety and compliance with the federal Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

Rationale: No filter is totally successful.Often relevant information is censored while objectionable content may not be blocked. Filters may be helpful for protecting young students in the elementary school setting, but use should be less restrictive in middle and high schools. Having an educator available for guiding students through the Internet, answering their questions and addressing safety concerns is more meaningful than relying on a static software program. Technology and Internet users, like users of traditional library material, are responsible for their actions in accessing available resources. Educators should be aware that the government has mandated filter use for schools, but also that filters will not completely protect students and will infringe on their rights to access. According to the CIPA, educators may disarm filters when they are using a computer for educational use. Educators should also be aware of procedures for disarming filters so that their own rights to access are not diminished.


III. Guidelines for students


Standard 1: Educators shall provide an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) to inform students of the appropriate use of district technologies.

Rationale: The smooth operation of technology use and the district network relies upon the proper conduct of the end users who must adhere to strict guidelines.These guidelines should be provided so that one is aware of the responsibilities acquired through use.

Users who violate any provisions as outlined in the District Acceptable Use Policy will be disciplined according to the AUP.


IV. Intellectual Property


Standard 1 Educators shall respect the intellectual property of their peers.

Rationale: Educators should follow fair use guidelines for copyrighted material. Other peopleís material should always be correctly cited when used within oneís own work.


Standard 2: Educators have a responsibility to teach their students about intellectual property.

Rationale: Educators should teach their students how to use appropriate conventions for documentation in the text, notes and bibliographies by adhering to those in requisite style manuals. The ease in which present technology allows copying and pasting requires that plagiarism be specifically addressed.



V. Privacy and Confidentiality


Standard 1: Educators shall monitor student computer use in the least restrictive manner possible where the learnersí safety and privacy rights are balanced.

Rationale: Using the computer to violate the law, the AUP, or network etiquette hampers the integrity and/or security of the network.


In addition, the deliberate creation and/or propagation of computer viruses, sending unsolicited junk mail or chain letters, and any interference with the work of others, with or without malicious intent, is viewed as mischief and harms the integrity of the system.Consequently, the integrity of the system must be maintained through the monitoring of student use.


Standard 2: Educators shall provide general notice of various monitoring activities for all users.

Rationale: A general notice of remote monitoring or observing screens respects user privacy rights since the notice alerts users to the fact that files they create or receive are being monitored. The monitoring may include personal e-mail accounts that are accessed at school. Monitoring is done to address users' safety and the integrity of the network.


Standard 3: Educators shall provide general notice of accessing and/or deleting of any usersí files.

Rationale: Users should not expect that electronic mail (e-mail) or files stored on school-based computers would be private. Even non-school related e-mail accounts, when accessed with school equipment, may be monitored. Individuals responsible for administrating and operating the system will have access to all mail and files stored on school-based computers, and may review messages and files to maintain the integrity of the system and its proper use.It is often necessary to make room on the servers for various reasons.Therefore, proper notification should be given prior to the removal of any files from accounts to afford the user the opportunity to save any work from their files and/or accounts.


Standard 4: Educators shall protect personal student information and maintain confidentiality of student records.

Rationale: Technology provides an increased ease with which to access personal information and records. As a result, there is an increased potential for violating the privacy of the users. Educators and individuals responsible for administering and operating the system must maintain the confidentiality of data prescribing individuals. This would include the use of ID numbers, the monitoring of information included in works published, ensuring accuracy of information presented, and protection from accidental access by unauthorized individuals.


VI. Security

Standard 1: Educators shall use only those password-protected school accounts that have been assigned to them.

Rationale: Each owner of a password-protected account is ultimately responsible for the contents within that account.Furthermore, sharing passwords increases the potential for security breaches. Educators should take appropriate precautions to prevent security breaches.


Standard 2: Educators shall respect the confidentiality of files and resources on district networks.

Rationale: Educators working on LANs and WANs are assigned certain rights to various resources on their respective networks.Some of these resources include network printers, private directories, common or shared directories and often times access to student directories.The electronic files that are meant to be shared and distributed among colleagues are those files stored in the common or shared directories.Attempts to access otherís private directories, tamper with files in common or shared areas that are not directly related to the user, or print to non-assigned printers is acting against the usersí designated rights.


Standard 3: Educators shall have the responsibility of providing secure controls for all technology resources.

Rationale: Managing district technologies requires a high level of technical expertise and experience.Therefore, all of these technologies should be appropriately secured to reduce the potential for errors and malfunctions of commonly used tools.Examples of this include using logins and passwords for individual accounts, locating servers in little to no traffic areas, and keeping administrative, teacher, and student files separated.


Standard 4: Educators shall report any breach in security to the director of technology, network manager, or other designated administrator.

Rationale:Educational technologies are shared by hundreds of educators and thousands of students.Often times, these technologies are in high demand and have to be carefully scheduled in order to effectively implement them into the educational process. If a breach of security occurs, it is important that the situation be handled quickly and completely so as to return to normal practices as soon as possible.Some security breaches may cause the loss of educationally valuable materials created by teachers, access to the Internet, access to the LAN or WAN, access to administrative documents, or may even constitute illegal activity that needs to be reported to the local authorities. If a security breach goes as far as making sensitive information accessible, those people whose information is available should be contacted.



VII. Maintaining Equipment


Standard 1: Teachers shall be responsible for maintaining the technology equipment that they use.

Rationale:Proper use and care of technology equipment will not only keep the equipment in best possible condition for all users, but will demonstrate to their students the importance of maintaining equipment.



VIII. Community Relations

Standard 1:Educators shall involve the community in establishing a technological vision for their school district.


Rationale: The community surrounding a school district will be directly affected by the infusion of technology into the educational practice.Students will want additional access outside of the school building, which will impact their homes, other public institutions, and some of the local businesses.In addition, the students attending school will also become influential workers within the community both as part-time employees and potential full-time employees.Thus, the input from the community as to the needed technological knowledge and skills will be invaluable.





All educators shall follow the standards set forth in this code. Educators shall not only maintain the integrity of the code by following its tenets, but also by helping others understand and follow them as well. This code should be used as a guideline from which to generate or review school Accepatable Use Policies and other technology related policies.


Educatorshave a duty to report violations of this code to the proper authorities. Violations of this code may incur serious consequences within a school or district or fall under the jurisdiction of local, state or federal laws.

If educators have disagreements with the Acceptable Use Policy, national, state, or district standards, or this code of ethics, then they should become advocates for changing those policies.




Glossary of Terms


Acceptable Use Policy (AUP)

A contract provided by a school district that outlines the proper use of the district's technology.The contract requires the signatures of the student and parent.

Child Internet Protection Act (CIPA)

The Childrenís Internet Protection Act went into action on April 20, 2001.This federal law states that schools and libraries must use filters Internet sites with information or images inappropriate for children in order to receive some types of federal funding.††



Families, businesses, organizations and others interested in the local school system.

Digital Divide

The term digital divide refers to the differences between people with acess to technology and those without adequate access. These differences are usually a result of socio-economic factors.



Any person who teaches students of any age, from preschool to adult or any person who is responsible for curriculum or other aspects of the teaching process.

End User

The end user is the person for whom the software or hardware was designed.


A federal program to provide discounted telecommunications and information resources for schools. The discount is based on the number of students in the district eligible for the school lunch program and differs slightly for urban and rural districts.

Fair Use

Educators may use copyrighted works is they follow the fair use guidelines. Fair use depends on how much of the work is used, what the purpose is for using it, how the work will be used and whether the use could damage the market for the original use.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property includes those materials that are copyrighted, patened, or trademarked.


A network of networks connecting millions of computer users all over the world.The Internet enables worldwide connection to electronic mail, discussion groups, databases, software, and other information sources, such as libraries and museums.The use of technology and Internet access is provided to promote educational excellence in schools by facilitating resource sharing, innovation, and communication.

Internet Filters and Blocking

Software programs designed to prevent users from accessing webpages. These programs block pages with specific words that the program administrators have deemed inappropriate for the user.


A local area network (LAN) is a group of computers and associated devices that share a common communications line and typically share the resources of a single processor or server within a small geographic area (for example, within an office building). Usually, the server has applications and data storage that are shared in common by multiple computer users. A local area network may serve as few as two or three users (for example, in a home network) or many as thousands of users (for example, in an FDDI network).Definition from


This is the interference with the work of other users, with or without malicious intent. e.g. anonymous letters, tampering with passwords, accessing accounts without permission.

Network Etiquette

This includes, but is not limited to, using the network for approved legal activities which have educational relevance, using appropriate language and avoiding offensive or inflammatory speech, no impersonation, refraining from giving out personal information, and being respectful in chats or on listservers.


See the excellent definition provided by Swarthmore College

Remote Monitoring

The ability for technology personnel to view individual users' computer screens from a remote location.

Software license

An agreement between a software company and its users.The license allows the program to be run on a designated number of devices by a designated number of users.


A tool that teachers use to enrich learning. Technology is ever-changing. Most of the technology that todayís educatorsí use involves computers, but in the future this may include personal digital assistants and other emerging technology.


This is any malicious attempt to harm or destroy data of another user, the internet, or any network connected to the internet.


A WAN (wide area network) is a geographically dispersed telecommunications network and the term distinguishes a broader telecommunication structure from a local area network (LAN). A wide area network may be privately owned or rented, but the term usually connotes the inclusion of public (shared user) networks. An intermediate form of network in terms of geography is a metropolitan area network (MAN). Definition from




On-Line Resources

10 Commandments of Computer Ethics

This site is a list  of 10 basic codes for computer

use from the Computer Ethics Institute.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Code of Ethics

This site contains a dated (1971) version of a code of ethics for the


American Library Association

The ALA has very strong opinions and articles about filtering, censorship and intellectual property.


Code of Ethics for the Education Profession

From the National Education Association.


Codes of Ethics Online

This site provides information on a variety of topics related to codes of ethics

such as authoring a code of ethics.  It also includes an index of codes

of ethics from a wide variety of organizations and other resources to

use in creating a code of ethics.


Copyright FAQs

From the U.S. Copyright Office, everything you ever needed to know about copyright, including facts on whether Elvis sightings can be copyrighted.



A site for teachers to use with students to give instruction on Net etiquette.


Digital Divide

This site from the U.S. Department of Education provides reports and statistics about the digital divide.


Guide to E-Mail & the Internet in the Workplace

Guidelines for employees regarding appropriate e-mail and Internet uses during the work day.


ISBE Standards for Technology Educators

This page is in pdf format. Click on the Technology Educator link on the first page or scroll to page 202 to view the Illinois State Standards, Knowledge Indicators and Performance Indicators for technology educators.

This site is especially useful for its legal forms on topics such as software, hardware and intellectual property.


National Educational Technology Standards for Students

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has created a National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) project to specify technology standards for teachers and students. This page links to the learning standards for students.


National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has created a National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) project to specify technology standards for teachers and students. This page links to the standards and performance indicators for teachers.


Professional Ethics & Wrongful Discharge

This site deliniates the process by which an ethical professional can address a dispute of the code.


Reboot your Attitude

Curriculum for teaching ethics to middle school and high school students.


Resolution to Opposition to Federally Mandated Internet Filtering

The official policy statement from the American Library Association opposingthe Child Internet Protection Act.


Technology and the New Professional Teacher

Standards for teachers regarding technology.


Technology Standards for School Administrators

Created by the Technology Standards for School Administrators Collaborative (TSSA Collaborative), this site offers an evolving set of standards. Scroll to the bottom of the View Standard link to see the standards.




Technology terms are defined at the searchable site. Particularly useful for this code was its information on software licensing.