This paper on human values and technology should be about 5-9 pages long (with line-and-a-half spacing), but you can exceed this limit. It has been my experience from teaching this course previously that most students need 7-9 pages to address all requirements for the paper. This page count does not include the separate page that you should have for your bibliography. You should provide full references for your sources, not just the links. (You can use any style for the references that you wish – Chicago, MLA, APA, etc. – as long as you are consistent.) This first paper should be divided into two parts: 1) the first part of the paper should describe, and elaborate on, at least FIVE values that you consider fundamental to how you conduct your life, that is, what you deem most important and worthy in your everyday life (e.g., honesty, compassion, tradition, achievement and discipline, creative expression, freedom, resourcefulness, frugality, perseverance, connection with others, your learning and development, being gentle to planet Earth); and 2) the second part of the paper should offer one example of a type of technology (e.g., wheel, pencil, book, wheelbarrow, tractor, oven, cell phone, iPad, virtual or augmented reality application) and apply your framework of values from the first part of your paper to evaluate this technology.
To be clear, in the first part of the paper, you should be talking about values that guide the conduct of your life and help you address ethical questions that you engage in. DO *NOT* FRAME THIS FIRST SECTION IN TERMS OF CRITERIA THAT YOU USE TO MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR PURCHASES OF TECHNOLOGY! IN FACT, DO NOT REFERENCE TECHNOLOGY IN THIS SECTION! You are not meeting a critical aim of this paper if you discuss values narrowly in terms of being a consumer of technology (e.g., making a decision about whether to buy the latest iPhone) and points will be deducted if you do so. Defining the criteria for making purchasing decisions with regard to technology is not the purpose of this paper and not the focus of this course. This course is intended to provoke you to think deeply about technology and its impact on your life, your community, and the broader society, pondering such questions as: “Does technology help or hurt our planet Earth?;” “Does medical technology enhance the quality of life and how can we ensure it is developed and used ethically?”; “Does technology empower us in the workplace or rob us of our autonomy?;” and “Does communication technology promote positive social interactions or has it been used to spread disinformation and foment division in our society?” The first section of this paper is intended to help you first think about the framework of values that you’ll use to consider these ethical questions.
In the second part, you should analyze the ways in which the technology that you chose to examine may support or hinder the embodiment of your values. In the course of this analysis, you will be making evaluative claims about the technology, asserting that the technology facilitates or impedes your values. For this first paper, you’ll want to cite at least ONE scholarly source (a source providing research, data, and evidence) that supports your evaluative claim. For example, you may state in the first part of the paper that you are passionate about ensuring that all people, in all their diversity, develop to their full potential; then, in the second part of the paper (continuing with this example), you may make a claim that hand-held devices (such as tablets or smartphones) can be very effective in fulfilling this value by helping those with autism learn and interact with others. To help support this evaluative claim, you could cite this review article from Indiana University (Lofland, n.d.) [at the link: https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/the-use-of-technology-in-treatment-of-autism-spectrum-disorders]. Note that it is not sufficient to provide only anecdotes of your experiences with technology; you must support your assessment of the technology with evidence described in academic articles. If you find it difficult to locate such references, librarians can help you in your search.
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