What happens when a technology can shape the way we think about developmental theory creating a rhyme of history in the theoretical world? I’m going off on a slight tangent in this blog post but I feel like it runs parallel to the assignment at hand. Thornburg asks us to look at rhymes of history and use the process of reflecting on how current technologies have emerged, and then analyze  developing technologies that could have similar or “parallel” impacts in the future (Laureate Education, 2014).

So let’s take a look at developmental theory for a moment. While there is no technology associated with it at first, as we have grown and become shaped by technology as a culture, this has impacted technology and finds us looking for specific experiences with the technology we use. For this example we will look at Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. (Wikipedia)

Stage’s of Kohlberg’s Moral Development Theory

  • Level I: Preconventional
    • Stage One: Heteronomous Morality: Obeying rules so not to be punished (focus more on self than the other)
    • Stage Two: Individualistic, Instrumental Morality: Focusing on only following the rules that benefit themselves.
  • Level II: Conventional
    • Stage Three: Interpersonally Normative Morality: The person begins to start living up to the expectations of the important people around them. (i.e.: friends, parents, teachers)
    • Stage Four: Social System Morality: We begin to realize that everyone has morals and we live in the society’s morals established by the people in it.
  • Level III: Postconventional or Principled
    • Stage Five: Human Rights and Social Welfare Morality: Being able to depend on everyone around you to carry out the social justices and entering groups to maintain these ideas that you hold as well.
    • Stage Six: Morality of Universalizable, Reversible, and Prescriptive General Ethical Principles: Coming up with your own generalized morals that can apply to everyone and everything that you do.

This theoretical principle is used to look at the development of students within higher education. How has technology changed this and what is next for the steps of a student’s development because of technology?

Look at public shaming on social media. How incidents can become “stoning” incidents just by going with the crowd. Speaking up within an environment like that then makes a new target. Mob mentality then takes over the social media account and makes morality judgements.

As technology progresses, we will see the same items repeat. What happens when virtual reality is more prevalent than actual reality? Will the development of moral codes still occur in the manner Kohlberg suggests? I think it will but I think technology will shape it to look differently. I think it will take scholars looking at digital identity development to be able to help facilitate alternative environments that help progress identity in a safer manner.

I know it’s a bit off subject but it runs parallel to what we are being asked to think about and this runs parallel to the items that I want to research within this PhD. program.