The article attempts to show the specifics of the formation of moral consciousness in the context of the digital transformation of the educational space. The concepts of freedom and responsibility are viewed as the basic ethical values that organize moral experience. The study of the problem is carried out on the basis of the concepts of digital socialization and digital personality. It should be noted that the actions of the subject of training are technologically predetermined. The transformation of content into an online product means that the technology already carries a certain part of new practices, a certain organizational capital: the ability to be creative, innovative, have high communication skills. It is shown that the pragmatic aspect of understanding and actions of the individual within the framework of freedom and responsibility is manifested as the need to "fit" into the new innovative system of professional requests. The article presents such features of the mentality of modern students as a rapid change in the system of moral assessments, lack of experience of reflection, amorphous idea of individual ethical responsibility. Freedom and responsibility as ethical guidelines for activity are largely concretized as emotionally experienced ideas about the "field of possibilities" of self-realization, that is, largely in an individualistic context. It is shown that in conditions of information overload, developed communicativeness, one of the important ways of manifesting moral feelings is an intuitive moral judgment and action.
In modern spiritual culture, the categories of morality exist in a certain boundary space, filling new content in various areas of human activity. Metaphysically oriented ethical theories, due to the extreme abstractness of judgments, do not have sufficiently particular explanatory potential in relation to situations of modern moral choice; they are not attractive from the standpoint of pragmatically oriented thinking. Considering topical ethical problems, practical ethics, the content of which is “practical moral problems of a borderline and open nature”, has come to the forefront. Its goal is to comprehend new strategies, tactics and methods that are manifested in reality on the basis of the principles developed by classical ethics. Practical ethics acts where specific situations arise, determined by special conditions, and there is a need to make informal decisions.
Traditionally, the model of a classical university was focused on the formation of the values of freedom, and the development of individuality in students’ minds and actions. A modern university is aimed at high intensity and effectiveness of scientific and innovative activities, which requires new approaches in the training of specialists. In the context of digitalization in education, new channels and rules for interaction in this social sphere are being formed. There are obvious changes in the content, structure, organization of the educational process, new qualification requirements for its participants, social problems associated with the so-called “digital divide”. In general, these processes are a manifestation of the general systemic situation: the creation of a global technosphere, changes taking place in the “man – technology” system. Technological innovations have a strong impact on the value system, cultural universals in the educational space. The critical rethinking of ethical values in the formation of a moral subject contributes to the deep interaction of knowledge, actions and beliefs of the individual.
The creation of the digital world has led to the actualization of the issue of technologies’ ethical neutrality. The interaction of the knowledge system and the digital teaching model convincingly demonstrates the influence of technology on content and, consequently, on the spiritual world, the mentality of students. Experts note: in electronic culture “the spiritual and material components are formatted by artificial intelligence – the technology of extracting, representing, storing, processing, transmitting “knowledge” and, in general, “managing them” in electronic culture (Alekseev, 2014). The mastery of these skills and abilities is a result of digital socialization, a feature of which is the mastery and appropriation of social experience in online contexts and the formation of a digital personality as part of a real personality (Soldatova, 2018). In education, digital competence is based on a new understanding of the subject of learning as a product of communication.
The actively discussed concept of a digital personality is revealed through identity with the world of digital technologies, represents the ability to solve problems purposefully and completely using digital technologies, accompanied by the formation of “new meanings of activity”. (Shneider and Symaniuk, 2017). The essence of the problem under consideration is to what extent the “new meanings of activity” are related to traditional models of culture, including the concepts of freedom and responsibility.
The interaction of the processes of technologization of the educational space and its moral and ethical features is of research interest, considering a pragmatic solution of the problems faced by society in the field of education, the formation of a moral subject that determines the goals of one’s life.
The digital transformation of the educational space, like any technological innovations that took place in this area, has a significant impact on the process of socialization of students, their understanding of the dialectics of freedom and responsibility as one of the meaningful guidelines. Digitalization implies the use of the latest technologies for better and faster execution of various operations and allows the use of technologies for those activities in which they were not previously manifested. The organizational, methodological, socio-psychological aspects of digital education are due to fundamental qualitative changes taking place in society – the formation of digital culture, the phenomenon of digital socialization, the actualization of digital literacy and digital competence.
The concept of digital education initially means the formation of a digital base of the educational process based on the introduction and widespread use of IT technologies. The definition implies “the organization of interaction between educators and students in a digital educational environment, the main means of which are digital technologies, digital tools and digital traces as the results of educational and professional activities in a digital format” (Vayndorf-Sysoeva and Subocheva, 2018). In the literature on pedagogy, philosophy and psychology of education, the components and means of creating an electronic educational environment, digital content, the specifics of testing tools, etc. are widely discussed (Frolova, Rogach & Ryabova, 2020; Kasavin, 2021; Mamedova, 2016). There are obvious changes in the content, structure, organization of the educational process, new qualification requirements for its participants, social problems associated with the so-called “digital divide”. Organizational, methodological, socio-psychological aspects of digital education are due to fundamental qualitative changes taking place in society – the formation of digital culture, the phenomenon of digital socialization, the mainstreaming of digital literacy and digital competence (Makarov, 2018; Potyrała, 2020).
Technologies develop faster than humans adapt to them. The requirements for visualization of educational material form the discrete nature of the text organization and its perception, rhizomatic thinking contradicts the logic of the linear sequence of reasoning, analytical work of the intellect is not needed. The most important digital risks include the growth of uncertainty in understanding the basic values of human life –“life as if there were no cultural resources” (Kravchenko, 2019); the reduction of the authority of classical knowledge as opposed to the latest knowledge, the identification of knowledge with information. One of the critical features of a person's consciousness, working within the framework of network logic, is “saving psycho-emotional resources”, a decrease in empathy, compassion in the cognitive process, since there are no non-verbal emotionally supported personal moments of the dialogue in digital education. The concepts of digital competence and digital socialization reveal new goals and meanings of the modern educational process. The first one is about the ability of a person to use IT technologies in all areas of activity to obtain a maximum effect. Digital competence is based on the concept of digital literacy as “understanding, attitudes and skills of an individual to use digital tools effectively and opportunities for identification, access, assessment, integration, management, synthesis and analysis of digital resources, the formation of the latest knowledge systems, interaction with other individuals for a more constructive social interaction in the paradigm of certain situations” (Gladilina, Kadyrov and Stroganova, 2019; Minina, 2020). The concept of a higher degree of commonality–“transliteracy” implies a kind of expanded literacy, including coexistence, interaction, intersection of information-semiotic systems: from written and oral creation of texts - to the level of digital literacy. The challenge for a teacher is to create a voluminous field for manifestation of transliteracy, to teach students to find and create cultural meanings in the array of information received.
Researchers introduce the term “spontaneous socialization”, noting the specifics of digital socialization that occurs in the “open communication” mode on the social media platform. Spontaneous interaction is characterized as a free communication mode with self-directed capabilities. In this process, collective identities dominate in on-line discussions; as a result, there is a rapid change in the assessment system, no experience of reflection, and the idea of individual ethical responsibility of a person is blurred.
It should be noted that there is a certain technological predetermination of the actions of the subject of learning, which contributes to the formation of a certain type of thinking. The way of the material’s (content) formatting attaches a well-defined organizational capital to the final knowledge. In this context, the concept of organizational capital is revealed as the transformation of knowledge into a sustainable source of growth, the ability for creativity, innovation, good communication skills. At the same time, the “shadow” side of developed communication is often manifested; it acts as an imitation of activity, stimulation of the subject’s behavior in the absence of real social activity. Such actions can be characterized as meaningless freedom that appears in the form of imitation of actions.
In the classical ethical theory, freedom is implemented through the possibility of choice, which in turn is associated with the will and mind of a person (Apressyan, 2017, Kocherov, 2015). For a person of the era of digital transformations, freedom is largely understood as emotional experience that arises in a kind of “compression” of social time and space, a short distance in planning life cycles, which is due to the high rate of social changes. The act of communication is focused on achieving understanding: information – message – understanding. In the conditions of spontaneous interaction, changing digital identity, the situation of understanding seems to be an ideal and not always achievable option, a manifestation of formal freedom “without purpose and content”.
The pragmatic aspect of understanding and testing the actions of an individual within the framework of freedom and responsibility is manifested in the need to “fit” into a new innovative environment, to join the system of professional requests quickly, and, in general, in the openness of development experience for a young person in the educational space. The concepts of freedom and responsibility are specified as the conscious distribution of one’s resources, about being involved in socially significant activities.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose is to demonstrate the features of the formation of a moral subject in the digital space of modern education considering the importance of the concepts of freedom and responsibility for him as key guidelines for the process of self-development.
The research methods are determined by the selected topic, the feature of which is a complex nature, which necessitates a systematic approach. Various aspects of the problem (technological, ethical, sociocultural, communicative) form the integrity of interrelated elements. An attempt to discover the system-forming connections and specific mechanisms of interaction within this process has been made. Considering the problem, the author relies on the method of socio-philosophical analysis, the conceptions and principles of the philosophy of communication. Since the author relies on specific experience in teaching philosophical disciplines at a technical university, openness to this experience means reliance on the phenomenological method. The author’s previous publications are also related to the topic of communication in the educational process in the context of network culture (Krivykh, 2016, 2020).
The peculiarity of the research subject promotes the turn to the concepts of digital competence and digital socialization in the context of the emergence of new goals and meanings of the modern educational process. The features of digital socialization as “spontaneous socialization” due to interaction on the social media platform are presented, which creates opportunities for collective discussion of educational topics and the formation of the ability to reason, defend one’s position, conduct proper dialogue, and ultimately acquire and develop the social capital of a person.
The concept of a digital personality as a part of a real personality, which preserves and develops the features of the original prototype personality, based on its digital profile, has been updated.
The article presents such features of the mentality of modern students as a rapid change in the assessment system, lack of experience of reflection, amorphous idea of individual ethical responsibility.
A significant space of communicative experience, redundancy of information flows expand the degrees of freedom. In the classical sense, the absence of external coercion is defined as negative freedom. The attitude towards the formation of a certain type of personality has been replaced by the paradigm of creating opportunities for self-realization of the individual. In the modern world, in relation to situations in the educational space, it is more correct to speak about the absence of external coercion in the choice of actions. But the risks of freedom, as well as the degree of responsibility, increase accordingly.
There is a belief that freedom and responsibility as ethical guidelines for activity are specified in the modern educational space as emotionally experienced ideas about the “field of possibilities” of self-realization, about conscious participation in the distribution of one’s resources in socially significant activities, that is, to a large extent, in individualistic context.
In conditions of information overload, developed communication, and the prevalence of game interaction in network-type communities, one of the important ways of developing moral feelings is intuitive moral judgment and action.
It should be noted that reflection on the value meaning of the concepts of freedom and responsibility is carried out mainly in a pragmatic context in short life planning cycles.
In general, the understanding of freedom and responsibility as values of a humanistic culture is not in the spotlight, but, as researchers note, “there is a demand for a certain moral pathos in the student environment” (Belyaeva, 2017). Digitalization of the educational process provides opportunities for choosing an individual educational trajectory, introducing an individualized assessment system, expanding the practical component in the educational process, changing the social roles of a teacher and a student. These innovations mean an open experience of self-development and individual freedom. However, the development of culture and civilization was also associated with the formation of the experience of freedom self-restraint. The orientation of responsibility due to age characteristics and social status of students is manifested mainly as responsibility to oneself.
Alekseev, A. (2014). Cognitive and anthropological problems of the study of electronic Culture. Bulletin of the Faculty of Humanities of Ivanovo State University of Chemistry and Technology, 7, 35–40. https://www.isuct.ru/e-publ/vgf/sites/ru.e-publ.vgf/files/2014/07/vgf-2014-07-035.pdf
Apressyan, R. (2017). Freedom: Understanding and Experience. Ethical Though, 17(1), 56–69.
Belyaeva, E. V. (2017). Proceedings of Round Table Discussion. Systematization in Modern Ethics: Theoretical Approaches, Methods, and Schemes. Ethical Thought, 17(2), 27.
Frolova, E. V., Rogach, O. V., & Ryabova, T. M. (2020). Digitalization of Education in Modern Scientific Discourse: New Trends and Risks Analysis. European Journal of Contemporary Education, 9(20), 313–336.
Gladilina, I. P., Kadyrov, N. N., & Stroganova, E. V. (2019). Digital literacy and digital competencies as a factor of professional success. Innovations and Investments, 5, 62–64.
Kasavin, I. T. (2021). The Humboldt-University and Its Rivals Under the Market Science Condition. Philosophy issues, 3, 41–46.
Kocherov, S. N. (2015). The Paradoxes of Moral Freedom. Ethical Though, 15, 5–26.
Kravchenko, S. A. (2019). Digital risks, metamorphoses and centrifugal tendencies. Sotsis, 10, 48–57.
Krivykh, E. G. (2016). Communication in teaching philosophy. Context and reflection: Philosophy about the world and man, 6A(5), 176–83.
Krivykh, E. G. (2020). Philosophy as an academic discipline for the digital generation. Society: Philosophy, history, culture, 4(72), 37–40.
Makarov, V. L. (2018). Formation of the world of knowledge in the digital world. Artificial societies, 13(3).
Mamedova, N. M. (2016). Educational in the mirror of culture. Bulletin of Moscow city University. Series Philosophy, 2(18), 20–25.
Minina, V. N. (2020). Digitalization of higher education and its social outcomes. Bulletin of Saint Petersburg University. Sociology, 13(1), 84–101.
Potyrała, K. (2020). A few reflections on contemporary science education and educational research. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 78(1), 4–8. https://www.scientiasocialis.lt/pec/node/files/pdf/vol78/4-8.Potyrala_Vol.78-1_PEC.pdf
Shneider, L. B., & Symaniuk, V. V. (2017). The user in the information environment: digital identity today. Psychological research, 10, 52. http://psystudy.ru/index.php/num/2017v10n52/1406-shneider52
Soldatova, G. U. (2018). Digital socialization in a cultural and historical paradigm: a changing child in a changing world. http://cyberpsy.ru/articles/soldatova-cifrovaya-socializaciya-v-kulturnoistoricheskoj-paradigme/
Vayndorf-Sysoeva, M., & Subocheva, M. (2018). “Digital education” as a systemic category: approaches to definition. Bulletin of Moscow Region State University. Series: Pedagogics, 3, 25–35.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
About this article
31 March 2022
Print ISBN (optional)
Cite this article as:
Krivykh, E. G. (2022). Digitalization Of Education And The Formation Of Moral Consciousness Of Modern Students. In I. Savchenko (Ed.), Freedom and Responsibility in Pivotal Times, vol 125. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 137-142). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2022.03.17