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Developing a global understanding of educational technology

Category: EER504 (page 2 of 3)

Cultural and linguistic diversity: lines of inquiry

This week we are exploring cultural and linguistic diversity. I am quite excited about this topic because of my experience and interest in working across a diverse range of educational contexts. My passion for educational technology has led to me to some amazing experiences including implementing an online learning program at a school in the UAE, restoring a somewhat ancient computer-lab to working condition in a rural Thai school and working on mobile-learning project in public schools across Malawi.

All of these experiences working with technology in education settings were impacted and made unique by their cultural and linguistic practices. For example in the UAE, I explored how students communication style impacted on online learning pedagogies. And in Malawi the project I was/am on, used bilingual apps in English and Chichewa and culturally relevant activities to engage student.

After skimming through the course readings and applying my educational technology lens there are several themes, ideas and questions that have naturally evolved. All of these are lines of inquiry I would love to follow up.

Culture, Language and Online Learning

  • Why is it important to consider culture in online learning practices?
  • How can we cater for diverse communication styles in online learning environments?
  • Who decides what is appropriate learning content? Analysing content for learning through a cultural perspectives and regulation.
  • Comparing online learning practices across district, regional and national levels.

Educational Technology in Schools

  • Identifying cultural bias in apps
  • Analysis of educational technology in “white flight” schools (Ho, 2011., Jakubwicz, 2008)
  • The relationship between state online censorship and digital citizenship curriculum
  • Technology and Racism – how can we equip them with the right tools and attitudes?
  • Do girls and boys view and use technology differently in primary school classrooms? If so Why?
  • Exploring what critical race theory looks like in educational technology (May & Sleeter, 2010)

Diversity in the Educational Technology Industry

  • The impact of women in tech initiatives on high school subject selection amongst girls.
  • Are we making the digital divide larger through lack of diverse language content?
  • To what extent does the culture of EdTech designers and developers impact on their products?
  • History of emojis/avatars – embracing diversity

Course readings

Allen, J. (2010). Improving cross-cultural care and antiracism in nursing education: A literature review. Nurse Education Today30(4), 314-320.

Ho, C. (2011). My School’and others: Segregation and white flight. Australian Review of Public Affairs, 10(1), 1-2.

Jakubowicz, A. (2008). Cultural Diversity in the New Australia: A Four Way Street. In Keynote Address. International Unity in Diversity Conference.

Jakubowicz, A. (2009). Cultural diversity, cosmopolitan citizenship and education: issues, options and implications for Australia. Australian Education Union.

May, S., & Sleeter, C. E. (Eds.). (2010). Critical multiculturalism: Theory and praxis. Routledge.

Robinson,  & Jones Diaz, C. (2006). “It’s more than black dolls and brown paint”. Critical multiculturalism, whiteness and early childhood education. In Diversity and difference in early childhood education, pp. 63-81.

Accountability

This week we have been exploring the concept of accountability in education. Before diving into the readings I created this mind map, to illustrate my somewhat basic understanding of accountability in education. I have always associated accountability with a person taking ownership  and am slowly starting to realise how much I have overlooked the role of policy in ensuring accountability.

A policy document alone does ensure accountability, a policy document forms just one part of the accountability process. In Lingard’s (2010) critical policy analysis of the Rudd government’s national schooling agenda in Australia, he explores how policies have shifted from inputs and processes  to outputs and outcomes. In addition to cautioning  against policy borrowing from ‘reference societies’,  Lingard highlights the need for social-democratic school reform. I attribute this need for change on the unintended consequences and pressure placed on schools and teachers by policy products such as the MySchool and NAPLAN initiatives.

Considering this article was written almost 10 years ago, I see no real movement or shifts in current policy, still remaining a top-down approach. For example in the “Through growth to achievement Report”   it was highlighted that accountability mechanisms (informed by policy) continued to focus on compliance with management requirements rather than maximising student growth and achievement (Gonski et al., 2018). I believe if policy was being informed from the ground up, we would see different accountability mechanisms which would recognize the responsibilities of all actors within education.

References

Gonski, D., Arcus, T., Boston, K., Gould, V., Johnson, W., O’Brien, L., & Roberts, M. (2018). Through growth to achievement: Report of the review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Lingard, B. (2010). Policy borrowing, policy learning: testing times in Australian schooling. Critical Studies in Education, 51(2), 129–147.

Image: The Ideal Teacher

One of the activities I am to complete as part of the EER504 subject is to find an image which represents the qualities of the “ideal” teacher, however this seemingly simple task has really thrown me into a spin. I wish it was as simple as listing a few qualities and finding an image to match, but I am really having issues with idea that there is an “ideal” teacher. So please bare with me as I try to work this one through.

First the concept of ideal. When used as an adjective, ideal means to embody a standard of perfection, beauty, or excellence (Ideal, n.d.). However these qualities are not globally agreed upon and I believe are defined by contextual factors such as time, culture and location ect.. Take time for example, what I considered an ideal hairstyle 20 years ago is not the same as what I consider ideal now. Or Culture, what I consider an ideal family dinner is different to that of someone who was born and raised in say… Egypt. I don’t believe “ideal” is a fixed concept, it is always changing and being redefined.

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