Giving Compass' Take:

• EdSurge interviews anthropologist Mimi Ito, who discusses why equitable design in edtech is necessary so that students can achieve intended outcomes by educators. 

• It's important for edtech designers to think about access and to create edtech products that will be able to serve a wide range of students. How can market research of diverse student populations before design help aid this process? 

• Read more about how unequal access to technology prevents educational equity.

Imagine you’re an elementary school student. Your teacher has told your class to watch several streaming videos for a class project. You might want to watch some of the videos at home, but your family doesn’t have high-speed internet.

That’s just one way technology in education can fail to serve some students. Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist at the University of California, Irvine who studies how young people use technology, says it’s not necessarily because the teachers or the people making edtech tools have bad intentions. She argues that understanding another person’s situation is tough if you don’t share that experience.

EdSurge recently sat down with Ito at the Intentional Play Summit to get her thoughts on equity in edtech, creativity and how kids’ relationship to technology has changed over the years.

EdSurge: How do you think kids’ relationship to technology has changed, if at all, over the years you’ve been studying it?

Ito: That’s a hard question because I’ve been at this much too long. I first started studying kids and technology now about 20 years ago, and things certainly have changed. The big picture is that technology—digital technology specifically—has infiltrated just more and more aspects of not just children’s lives, but all of our lives. It’s also been moving steadily younger.

I’m curious to know more about those critical observations you’ve made about technology.

As an anthropologist, a lot of it is just reminding people who make the technology that not everybody is like them because the technology designers usually come from a narrower demographic than the people who end up using the technology. Also, just bringing a social scientific and humanistic perspective to technology design.

Read the full article about equitable design in edtech by Tina Nazerian at EdSurge.