Ethics of a product utilising ethics – Oh the irony! ; Research and Development

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I’ve talked about dragon’s den quite a few times within reference to marketing my product.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03wv70w/Dragons_Den_Series_11_Episode_11/ About 30 mins in.

And when I was watching it last night I panicked somewhat for a few moments,

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 18.00.57

when this client walked through the lift door the voice over said ‘That she was coming up with a product, that she hoped would improve the emotional wellbeing of children.” Oh dear. I listened on with my hands almost over my eyes scared to watch.

And then next thing I know, she unveils this.

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 18.05.52

It’s a virtual world. Oh deary indeed.

“Karisma Kids, is a fun safe and engaging brand that helps children to manage their moods and build self-esteem.”

Phew!

Although scarily close for comfort, this classroom resource does deal with ethics but it is aimed solely at the promotion of self whereas my resource deals other problems such as money handling, health as well self esteem as outlined in the department for educations guidelines for the compulsory teaching of PSHE in every classroom.

It also uses cartoon characters, which my research found were harder for young children to identify with than actors and so I will be using actors. My resource also uses webcam technology, a new and therefore innovative technique in the classroom, proven to challenge views, to really engage the students.

The dragons’ detected a major flaw in her product which made me think about my own however, she was  essentially charging a small fortune for both parents and schools to purchase the website with additional costly add-ons to improve the quality of the product and thus the boosting of the children’s self-esteem. Guilt complex much.

But am I guilty?

Yes I am aware of the competition and so recognise the need for profit to evolve a product which, considering it’s audience and purpose will need to continually evolve to fit its purpose but the main focus of my product, profit wise is to create a one sale product which appeals to all schools within all budgets. I don’t believe that it is fair for an underfunded school, where quite frankly the need for better PSHE teaching is often larger than say a private school to no be able to afford my resource which will make a difference. Therefore my product will require a one off licence fee for the software and that is all, which will be considerably cheaper as long as the school agrees to adhere to the Educational community licence. I believe this appeal will bring in a larger pool of interest than other approaches app developers currently use.

Other ethical problems

Talking of ethics, after talking to a pool of teachers on Twitter recently about PSHE and the way that is taught. A key message was drilled into me, the role of the teacher is to encourage ‘children to think but never judge them for what they do believe in. Encourage them to have their reasons.’ Therefore my resource will ask the questions but not give the answers ever. The rest of it is up to the teacher and the class.

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