Chapter 6 helps us rethink the use of tools and spaces, and ultimately refocus on how to effectively leverage them as part of a personal and authentic experience. Seen as supports in the Personal & Authentic Framework, these facets can either amplify or hinder the student experience. As such, we’ll explore issues surrounding equity, first by recognizing the gaps in opportunity and access that still exist for marginalized groups, and second by identifying ways to tackle these vital issues head on in our classrooms and schools.
Stop & Reflect / Study Guide Questions
What was your earliest memory of using educational technology in the classroom? What did you learn in the process?
Tom shares a story of a lesson where he used technology and received needed (and necessary) pushback during the post-observation conference with his principal. Can you relate to this? Have there been times that you created a lesson because of the technology and lost sight of the learning goals? What did you learn in the process?
What’s the best supervision conversation you’ve ever had that has helped change your mindset or alter an instructional practice? Why was it so good? How does that conversation help you give authentic feedback to your staff or students?
Reflect on a time you used technology in a lesson and it did not go as planned. What did you learn from the experience? Then reflect on a time technology helped provide a more personal and authentic experience for your learners.
What has consumption-based use looked like in your classroom or school? How could you have taken that strategy up a level to promote deeper learning outcomes?
Since they’ve been a hot trend for some time, Tom shares various 3D printer examples; with some being used effectively, and others being a colossal waste of money. Reflect on a tool that you’ve seen used for very low-level learning and also used elsewhere for deeper level outcomes. What was the difference between the two experiences?
What equity issues have you seen in your classroom or school? What are you doing to support traditionally marginalized students to close opportunity gaps?
Evaluate the student demographics that participate in clubs, competitions, and other types of extracurricular activities. Is there a disproportionate representation of student participation in any or all of the groups? If so, what can you do about it?
Which students in your classroom or school do not have Internet access at home? What are you doing to support them?
Reflect on your classroom space or one in your building. Why was the space designed as it was? What does the space indicate about your beliefs about how teaching and learning occur?
Tom outlines three areas highlighted in research on spaces: naturalness, individualization, and stimulation. How do the evidence-based thoughts that you read correlate with your classroom or school? What’s one change you could make?
How do inclusive spaces correlate with Maslow’s Hierarchy? Is the space that you design inclusive for all learners? How do you know?
What do your learners think about your space? Have you asked? Have you leveraged the learners’ voices to improve the inclusivity of your space?
Additional Resources to Support Your Personal & Authentic Journey
300+ Digital Resources Curated and Recommended by Teachers
Equity Work Should Start From the Top (Teaching Tolerance)
Equity for English Language Learners (Edutopia)
Equality vs. Equity: 6 Steps Towards Equity (Edutopia)
[Webinar] Closing the Gap: Digital Equity Strategies for the K-12 Classroom with Dr. Nicol Howard, Regina Schaffer, and Dr. Sarah Thomas (Future Ready Schools)
[Webinar] Equity IS Education with Dr. Rosa Perez-Isiah (Future Ready Schools)
Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning Environment that Kids Need (Edutopia)
Author’s Note: The resources contained within this page are not intended to be an exhaustive list, but are intended to provide conversation starters, pre-reading/watching, and inspiration on your journey. If you have additional suggestions, please share them so that they can be included for the benefit of others.