Skip to main content

Looking At Content Through A Different Lens

Last Saturday, I had a chance to participate in "#SATCHAT," a weekly education chat on Twitter that takes place at 7:30 am EST. This week's conversation, titled, "The Missing Voices in EdTech," on diversity in Educational Technology, was moderated by Rafranz Davis, a Math and Technology educator from Texas and author of the book by the same name

During the course of the questions and answers came an exchange regarding a simulation game called "Mission-US- Mission 2: Flight to Freedom." Produced by New York Public Television with support for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this simulation is intended to give students the experience of being a slave in the 1800's.
When Davis posted the link, I followed to see what she was talking about. At first glance, given who the creators were, and the blessing of the National Endowment for the Humanities, I was confused as to why it would be considered an "atrocity."

Our district has had a strong focus the last few years on equity, race and the achievement gap, and I serve on the Equity team at our district office. One thing that I have learned through this process is that the lens that I view the world through as a middle-aged, white male is that of the dominant culture, and I value the opportunities to hear other perspectives. 

A little while later, Davis posted on her blog about the game. Along with sharing excerpts from the story students go through, and asking questions of the producers, she makes the following key points:
Let me be clear in saying that learning about this time in history is necessary but doing so in a role playing game is not appropriate.
If your idea of “celebrating” the contributions of Black people during the month of February is a lesson in slavery…you are the one that needs a lesson in history and the countless contributions that we not only have made but are still making.
Our enslavement is not and should not be your lesson on resilience and grit.
I was somewhat embarrassed after reading her post that all of these concerns weren't self-evident to me at first glance. I tweeted out a link to her post and included the #sschat hashtag, in the hope that social studies teachers might take a look and give her comments some thought. 

Davis thanked me for the tweet, but it was really I who needed to thank her!

Davis has given me something to think about regarding the lens that I view my work through. It is an important reminder that diversity in education, is an important component, not just so that students see adults that look like them, but so that adults can learn from people who don't! 
Thanks, Rafranz for helping me see that!


Popular posts from this blog

Educon 2.1: Panel Discussion on Educational Change and Reform

The Sunday panel moderated by Andy Carvin, National Public Radio , focussed on Education Change. The panel included: David Bromley -- Regional Director, Big Picture Schools Chris Lehmann -- Principal, Science Leadership Academy Marc Mannella -- Principal, KIPP Philadelphia Bette Manchester -- Former State Educational Technology Director, Maine Gary Stager-- Executive Director of the Constructivist Consortium Mike Wang -- Executive Director of Teach For America Greater Philadelphia January 29-31, 2009 Educon 2.2 announced Save the Date!! Here is a clip from the session . Carvin asked each on the panel give an "Opening Statement". What does School Reform Look Like now that we have a new President in the White House. Lehmann -"I am hopeful", That data driven decision making recognizes that the best data we have on our students is the work that they do in the classroom every day. Mannella -Explained that KIPP schools fundamental belief that "All of us WILL Learn

Notes on EduCon 2.1 Opening Panel Discussion: What is the Purpose of School?

The "Official" opening to Educon 2.1 featured a panel discussion on "the purpose of school" at the Franklin Institute. Panel Members included: Joel Arquillos -Executive Director of 826LA (Writing workshops) -his boss has now started “ Once upon a School ”, a program paring classroom teachers with adult community members. Dr. Molefi Asante -Professor, African American Studies, Temple University (1st African American Studies program in U.S.) Kendall Crolius -Founding Partner, The Sulevia Group, also affiliated w/Heifer International Jeff Han -Founder, Perceptive Pixel and inventor of the Multi-Touch Screen (iPhone users were genuflecting in his presence!) Prakash Nair -Co-Founder, Fielding Nair International- Archetects and Change Agents for Education Dr. Steven Squyres -Principal Investigator, Mars Exploration Rover Mission Diane Castelbuono Deputy Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education PA Department of Education Moderator-Frederic Bertley -Vice Pr

Nos Chemins vers la paix: Award Winning Video!

Valley View Middle School French Imersion teacher, Heather Palmer created this award winning video, Nos Chemins vers la paix , for the Tel.A.Vision " Vision For America " Contest. Photo and video editing at Powered by One True Media , allows students to create videos that share their vision for the future. Heather wanted to use this video to promote the Wiki she and her students created for "6 Billion Paths to Peace." On the wiki, Palmer states: Our project was inspired by the program " Six Billion Paths to Peace ", an initiative of the Shinnyo-en foundation. We like the challenge the program offers us: commit to making a difference in this moment, in this day, in this lifetime! Palmer received her award last week at the National Service Learning Conference, in Nashville, TN. Way to go, Heather! NOTE: A few weeks ago while looking at the copyright free music available on the site, I notice a cover of the "Spin