I currently teach environmental ethics. As I work to engage with technology more directly in the classroom, I also feel responsible for interrogating the social and environmental impacts of our classroom technologies and personal gadgets. These connect us to all sorts of global problems, including pollution, toxic waste, and child labor. I would be interested in sharing ideas about how to raise these critical ethical questions.

Here’s what I’m trying. I have assigned my students this semester to watch Annie Leonard’s “Story of Electronics,” to listen to a Fresh Air podcast featuring the Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, and to read a short article, “High Tech Wasteland.”

Another way I approach this is by having my students consider how our learning depends on all sorts of technologies and infrastructures that connect us to the broader world. They contribute to a blog that investigates aspects of life on campus we take for granted, so, for example they trace the source of our power, water, and food. They track where our waste flows, including e-waste, recycling, food waste, construction waste, etc. All this helps us remember the ways we are always engaged with a world beyond the classroom, even when we feel isolated in a physical or virtual academic bubble.