Educational technology tips for teachers, librarians and schools.
EdTech

8 Ways EdTech Promotes Equality and Diversity

8 Ways EdTech Promotes Equality and Diversity

By Hannah Spruce

less prep time, assessmentsIt’s not news to anyone that children have an affinity for technology that adults just don’t.

If you’ve ever seen a two-year-old and an iPad you see that they just kind of “get it,” which is why it’s a great way to encourage engagement in learning.

Yet there are so many more benefits for using technology in the classroom—including its ability to promote equality and acceptance, while equalizing the playing field among students.

Not using tech in your classroom yet? Think again. You and your students will benefit more than you might realize.

More: 10 Undeniable Reasons for Tech to Be in Every School

Eradicates Negative Groupthink

Thanks to one-on-one computing, students are less likely to be at the mercy of negative “groupthink” when asked to think critically and discuss sensitive issues.

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon; it happens when a group of people want social harmony or conformity. Groups often reach irrational and negative outcomes to create common understanding and conformity. Group discussions where students feel the need to come up with a black-and-white answer can make it less likely for students to think critically and more likely to just accept the loudest voice in the group.

EdTech prevents groupthink from emerging by allowing students time to critically think about their own views and form their own opinions with personal research—this is especially true in 1-to-1 classrooms.

Bring it to your class:  Have at least one independent thinking session each week where students can use a tablet or computer to do their personal research and present their ideas to the class.

Serves the Needs of Immigrant Families

The parents of some children struggle with technology, which can be a struggle when trying to help their children with homework. Some parents have another, even more challenging barrier.

Language.

Migrant parents, who speak little to no English, still want t help their children success in school and multiple barriers hurts them and their children.

Bring it to your class: Choose tech tools that have multiple language options, allowing you to overcome the language barrier for immigrant parents.

Encourages Perspective Taking

Perspective taking is the act of understanding or processing other people’s views. It’s often confused with empathy, but empathy involves a reaction based on feeling rather than intellect.

This is an integral practice for schools, allowing teachers to encourage children to consider other people’s individuality, beliefs, and opinions—essential for becoming a respectful member of society. We need perspective taking skills to solve problems, develop and maintain relationships, and take part in extracurricular activities like sports.

Bring it to your class: Plan one perspective-taking lesson or activity a month, where students choose a person and research their perspective on a specific issue or topic. They can present their learning’s in a blog post, paper or even a cool video.

More: 5 iPad Video Projects to Assess Student Learning

Creates Access for Low-Income Students

There’s a digital divide between high, middle, and low-income families in America, with students from low-income families unable to access the internet and technology in the same way as their peers.

“For children in low-income school districts, inadequate access to technology can hinder them from learning the tech skills that are crucial to success in today’s economy,” says Liz Soltan from Digital Responsibility.

Bringing edtech into schools, especially when children are younger, creates familiarity and access to technology for children whose families might not have it at home. For low-income students, digital devices are becoming “the agent to change their social structure.”

Bring it to your class: Use these tech tools to encourage life-long learning in low-income students who may not have as many opportunities presented to them as their wealthier counterparts. They’re all Title-1 approved, as well.

Lets Children Learn on Their Terms

The traditional classroom environment is an uncomfortable space for some children who are under confident and afraid to speak in class. It can lead to undermined confidence and a lack of belief in their abilities.

It’s integral to build the confidence of all children, regardless of ability. And for these children, digital tools let them learn on their own terms and at their own pace.

Bring it to your class: Test student-created curriculum with these apps. It just might be the empowerment your students need to engage in learning.

More: 5 Ways to Amplify Student Voice With Technology

Inspires Struggling Learners

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Pokémon and the Nintendo Gameboy were at the height of popularity, and I was growing up.

My brother was heavily dyslexic, and my mom spent hours with him reading books tailored for dyslexic children and sending him to a dyslexic institute to make sure he was given every opportunity to succeed. To my mother’s annoyance, he learned to read through Pokémon—not the classes and not the books. The game motivated him in a way that no other method did.

Technology immerses students in their education and we shouldn’t forget how motivating games, fun, and technology are to children. When traditional books and classroom situations fall short, blended learning methods help struggling students find what works for them.

Bring it to your class: Boost productivity and inspire your struggling learners by gamifying lessons whenever possible. These 12 educational game apps might be the perfect solution for your students.

Creates Equal Access for Disabled Students

Technology means equal access for all. At the moment, it doesn’t.

Jennifer Dalsen says that “equal access to equipment is not the same as equal access to opportunity.” She tells teachers to “know the disability landscape” and to “make access a priority in design” to open up education for students with disabilities.

Bring it to your class: Do a disability assessment each quarter to be sure you’re providing every student with the tools they need to truly succeed. If many teachers are trying to equalize learning for disabled students in your school, consider starting a group that presents tech tools to the principal for purchase.

Casts New Light on History

Textbooks were the lifeblood of my generation’s classroom. We lugged equations, poems, and historical battles from class to class in backpacks bigger than our frames. The thing is: these textbooks were updated once a year, and in our fast-paced world, once a year is no longer enough.

Technology allows your students to access real-time media, videos, and content, all of which bring multiple perspectives and help students challenge dominant historical perspectives. This is essential for exploring and cementing the historical place of BME, LGBT, and disabled peoples whose histories have been overseen and erased.

Bring it to your class: Bring tech into at least one history lesson every week. One idea is to use Google Maps to walk around the streets of Rome—students can compare how it looked historically and how it looks now as the start of a discussion about this region and it’s long and tumultuous past.

How has EdTech promoted equality or diversity in your classroom? Leave a comment to let us know!

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