Edtech: Harnessing Student Voice and Promoting Equity


Image from W Fryer
Image from W Fryer


Educational Technology can be used to promote equity in our learning spaces, harness student voice, and provide new avenues for students to cultivate their passions in life.

Educators can choose to use this edtech meaningfully in our learning spaces. We can use it for purposes including connecting, creating, knowledge building, publishing, giving students a voice and helping students to cultivate their passions!  A whole world of possibilities is open to us.

That being said, ed-tech cannot be used in and of itself. In the spirit of thinking critically about digital media in education, I have included 5 important points that we can consider when applying pedagogy to the use of digital media and edtech:

1. Digital media and edtech in and of themselves do not consider the realities of race relations. That is why we cannot use them in and of themselves.

2. Digital media, edtech and computer sciences, cognitive science, brain science etc., are just several theories out of many that can be applied to teaching and how students learn. Mindfulness is essential to avoid our own confirmation bias dictating how students learn best. For the sake of our students, we need a growth mindset to apply a range of frameworks or paradigms toward how we believe students will learn. This will cultivate passion for learning!

3. We can harness digital media to give real voice to different cultural backgrounds and cultural learning, including First Nations, Metis, & Inuit Students. But it takes awareness of what paradigms we are operating from when we integrate edtech into our learning environments.

4. Educational Technology provides opportunities to give voices to those who have previously been unable to share their voices! We need to make sure that we are providing equitable opportunities for all students to cultivate their own voices, and find their own passions!

5. We need to use educational technology. It is inequitable for our students when some are allowed and encouraged to develop key skills and passions, and others are not.

The use of digital media in the classroom has the ability to facilitate the knowledge building process, help students and communities have their voices shared, and cultivate passion for learning.  It is important to pause for consideration of how it provides a framework for how people think and how our memories evolve, and how we learn in ways that follow our own paths and passions. We are no longer in the industrial era of thinking where learning needs to occur on a linear path.

Effective knowledge of our own pedagogy includes a recognition of paradigms surrounding edtech, and how those paradigms are affecting how we teach and learn. Further, development of our own biases and beliefs about the world based on the edtech is essential. There is the very real possibility that we will limit our learners in in very serious ways. The ability to attend to student voice is important. This can be accomplished via meaningful strategies and opportunity to allow for those voices to shape how they learn, how they think, and what they believe about how the world works.

For example, many First Nations, Metis & Inuit cultures contain views that the world needs to have balance between all domains, including physical, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional. When we are out of balance, this is when problems crop up. For instance, if we are focussed too much on the intellectual domain, we are forgetting that there truly are other ways of knowing and being in the world. Let’s give voice to this! We can harness this with edtech!

Software and hardware frameworks have drastically shaped how we think about how we learn. There are real trends towards using computers, the brain, and cognitive science as the roadmaps for how we learn. But there is danger in promoting these paradigms if they are not balanced with other ways of knowing in our world. A growth mindset and flexibility will help us to see that we need to implement new pedagogies to allow students to ‘know’ their world in the ways that are meaningful to them.

We are entrenched in a new digital culture that frames the internet as a medium of unparalleled freedom. However, it is essential that we focus attention on the serious issues including how digital media can amplify social inequity, and the exploitative and exclusionary possibilities that lie with it.

Educators have a tremendous amount of power in this day in age, and we can choose to leverage that power to help promote equity, diversity, and passion for learning. 


Deborah McCallum

© Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education, 2012-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Deborah McCallum and Big Ideas in Education with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.



4 responses to “Edtech: Harnessing Student Voice and Promoting Equity”

  1. Knowledge Building and Urban Legends in Education | Big Ideas in Education Avatar

    […] of content creation, innovative uses of edtech and our desires to take learning outside of the 4 walls of our classrooms, it is still of utmost […]


  2. […] will look on edtech as a way to differentiate, yet also provide universal design for students, and edtech as tools to support 21st century learning skills that students will absolutely need to be […]


  3. […] we are looking at student voice, if we want parent engagement, if we want student engagement …then we need to be willing to look […]


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