Giving Compass' Take:

• Ken Shelton, writing for EdSurge, discusses how edtech conferences need to encompass discussions, speakers, and leadership that focus on equity and race in education. 

• How can donors fund education technology that takes into account equity and race? 

• Read about the importance of creating equitable design in edtech. 

The typical edtech conference buzzes with gadgetry, infrastructure and new ways to engage students. Most session tend to focus on new apps or software over deep dives into pedagogy and building better relationships.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that—the world needs both. But when was the last time you hear someone talk about racism or digital equity? Where are the conversations about reaching all learners and examining our own biases as educators?

Most tech conference attendees don’t stop to consider the institutions, such as racism and complicity that create the inequities their students deal with. Yet when racism, voice and privilege are not addressed in a deliberate way, all of us suffer. We suffer because we lose out on face-to-face opportunities for meaningful conversations. We suffer when we fail to examine how each of us play a critical part in the success of our students. We lose out because each year these inequities are perpetuated is another year lost to our students.

When you attend a conference, put on a conference or think about your professional learning experiences consider who is there. What voices are missing and is it intentional? Are there barriers to entry? What is the growth impact of not having diverse representation? And most importantly, what should we be doing about it?

Technology can create amazing opportunities, but it can also drastically magnify inequities that already exist
With respect to tech conferences, there is room for improvement. Here are a few possible ideas:

  • Ensure at least one keynote speaker addresses issues of equity.
  • Keynote speakers of color at tech conferences are essential for moving forward.
  • Technology sessions should intentionally consider issues of inequity and racism.
  • Highlighting equity content can provide direction.

Read the full article about race and equity at edtech conferences by Ken Shelton at EdSurge