Using tech to promote equity: technology equalizer

Technology can be used to level the playing field for learning. You may ask how can this be? Imagine a classroom where all students receive personalized learning plans that support their learning styles and social-emotional needs.25733957In the book, “For White Folks that Teach in the Hood …and the rest of Y’all too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education,” Dr. Edmin states, “ The technology alone was not enough to engage them. What they cared about was how it was being used.” Below I will list a few uses for technology that can engage urban youth by creating the cosmopolitan effect which is a feature of Reality Pedagogy.

  • Design a digital scavenger hunt related to the content being taught. Components: a powerful driving question, a quick assignment for students to complete and a short lecture.
  • If your district and students age allow: Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or another social netting site as a platform to share homework assignments with classmates, plan school activities, or create profiles dedicated to topics being taught. Create a Facebook, Twitter, etc. that highlights your class name, homework assignments, members of the class, books being read, links to Youtube videos related to classroom content. You can invite experts on the field of study to join the discussions.
  • To teach students these same skills with actually joining an internet-based social media group use the following ideas. A Twitter board can be created in your classroom. This is equivalent to a Twitter timeline. Students will need to create a handle. The process begins with students writing their handle on a paper tent that is placed on their desk for all to see. Next, the teacher sends tweets about what is currently being discussed in the class to one student using their handle. When someone has been tweeted they have to come up to the Twitter board and respond. A person cannot be tweeted more than 5 times. Students must answer the question and then ask someone else a question. If they don’t have an answer, they must ask a question about what they don’t understand. All questions must relate to the main hashtag( topic) set by the teacher and the beginning of the activity. This event ends when the teacher writes a closing Tweet.

Social media is a powerful engaging teaching tool. In order for students to see it as a tool for learning, teachers should teach this skill. If we don’t Dr. Edmin states,” …as a result of excluding social media from schools is that students then infer that these platforms are completely unrelated to learning.”

Emdin, C. (2017). For white folks who teach in the hood – and the rest of yall too: Reality pedagogy and urban education. Boston: Beacon Press.

Black History Month: Tech Diversity

February is America’s way of righting the incorrect image of inferiority projected for centuries upon the people labeled as “ Negro, Colored, Black, African American”  by mainstream America.  One way to Celebrate “Black” history month is by educating others about influential contemporary African Americans in the tech industry.

Provided below are short biographies of the following contemporary tech trailblazers: Anthony Frasier, Brian Watson, Kimberly Bryant, and Ken Coleman. They  are 4 influential African Americans in the tech industry. Let these quick bios serve as a starting point for student discovery. In addition, culturally responsive pedagogical strategies are provided that utilize tech for lesson delivery.

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Ken Coleman was one of the first African Americans in Silicon Valley. He served in several senior management positions for Hewlett-Packard.  In 1982 he became Vice President of Product Development for Activision. In 1987 he joined Silicon Graphics where he held several executive level positions. He continued his impact in the Silicon Valley raising venture capital funds in the millions for software companies he founded. Today at the age of 69 he is a member of the board of directors of city national bank, MIPS technologies, and United Online.



Anthony Frasier is the co-founder of The Phat Startup with co-founder James Lopez. The Phat Startup is an integrated media company that produce content for entrepreneurs. This tech entrepreneur is from Newark, NJ. Before his current success, he was the co-founder of  the mobile startup Playd and the game review site entitled, “TheKoalition.com.”

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Brian Watson is the Director of Experience at VSCO. VSCO is a photography app and sharing platform that allows users to apply filters on their pictures and post them to their profiles.  VSCO was established in 2011 and headquartered in Oakland, Ca They also have another office in New York City, prior to this position he was an analyst for the Union Square Ventures investment team.


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Kimberly Bryant is the founder and executive director of Black Girls CODE (BGC), a non-profit organization dedicated to “changing the face of technology.” BGC introduces girls of color (ages 7–17) to the field of technology and computer science with a concentration on entrepreneurial concepts. Prior to starting Black Girls CODE, Kimberly enjoyed a successful 20+ year professional career in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries as an Engineering Manager in a series of technical leadership roles for various Fortune 50 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer.

Culturally/ Linguistically  Response Strategies for learning about influential African Americans in Tech

  • Create a Webquest – create a series of questions that students must research online about various influential African Americans in Tech. Students can work in small groups and report out their findings by creating a multi-media presentation
  • After researching the individuals, a student representative from each group can represent that person in a mock talk show( create costumes and props). The host can ask questions about the impact of tech on world issues and also ask about how they managed to excel in an industry that is not very diverse.
  • Students can develop a list of questions and write to these trailblazers.
  • Students can create an infographic of  the biography.
  • Student digital presentations can be added to the school’s website or newsletter.
  • Share these bios on the school loudspeaker during morning announcements.