Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Get the Sexism out of EdTech

To my fellow EdTech colleagues,

As you begin to formulate your next blog post or article, I'd like to make a suggestion.  The voices of women contribute valuable ideas to the future of teaching and learning innovations. As such, it is my hope that we can all work together to foster a culture in EdTech that encourages women to be active participants in this evolving space.  

Here are a few ideas.

What not to do.

  1. Don't correlate educational technology with the sale and exchange of women's bodies for sex.  If you aren't sure what I mean, please see Perry Samson's "Pimp your LMS" post on LinkedIn for an example.  The glorification of pimp culture undercuts the severity sex trafficking, which is a reality for millions of women around the world.  Hopefully, you can be a bit more creative than this and come up with a reference that doesn't alienate your female readers or make them never want to use your product (Echo360 in this case).
  2. Don't associate texting in class with male masturbation, as Stephen t. Ziliak did in today's issue of Inside Higher Ed:
"Texting off in class means just as it sounds. It begins when a texter-offer has the urge to text off or when he feels in his pants the vibration of incoming text or data, which might, in fact, have been delivered by a classmate seated close by to him. Even in courses strictly prohibiting texting during class, today’s texter-offer can hardly resist, and many give in to the temptation."
We've seen enough products be deemed "sexy" through the media and pop culture (guns and cars come to mind).  We don't need to sexify educational technology too.  It's not witty. It's offensive.

What to do:

  1. Focus on the issues.  
  2. Contribute thought-provoking conversations that foster inclusivity.
  3. Discuss and recognize the achievements of women that are often overshadowed by those of men. For an example, see this post by Michael Berman, "Who is Sharla P. Boehm?"
That is all. 


Michelle Pacansky-Brock

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