The inaccessibility of learning “how computing works” & applying that learning in unique ways is real…especially when we view it as something only done in “that geeky teacher’s classroom,” the designated makerspace or worse…gifted only.

I live 2.5 hours away from my nephew and as much as it was his desires to make animatronic puppets that sent us down this pathway of discovery, it is also a reality that on a regular basis, tinkering with technology is not within his grasp…

…not at school

…not without my guidance…or supplies

Using Edtech Isn’t Enough…

Like many students, Braeden’s access to technology at school is centered on district provided collaboration tools, curriculum-based programs, and devices. We tend to do an “okay” job of kids using technology, especially when it comes to edtech. We even often get the need for kids to be creators of content. Presentation, Blogging, Green Screen or Paper Slide videos anyone?

Where we often struggle is the lane where kids create actual technology or learn how such tools work. (not shocking since inequity deems that majority of kids in low income/rural areas still have minimal tech access)

…unless they are in that “geeky teacher’s classroom” or an environment where thinking out of the box means also thinking beyond blocks and “innovation kits” or recipes.

…also typically, the geeky teacher’s classroom

…or they are lucky enough to have a librarian who has created a space that is well supported, open-ended, exploratory and dictated by the needs of its users over adult control

…and absolutely, positively…much more than just coding apps (Although Apple’s version is pretty fantastic, but that is an entirely different blog post)

…oh yeah…and unless kids are in affluent engineering minded communities or private schools

…definitely never in low performing schools serving low income or students of color. If anything, they have remedial tech on lock! If they are lucky, they get to code for an hour once a year.

…because control is control and adults will always adult.

Editor’s Note: This is a cross-posted piece originally seen at EdTech Bloggers of Color. This is Part 1 of a two-part series. You can also see Rafranz in person at our upcoming Fall CUE 2018 Conference at American Canyon High School in Napa Valley, CA — October 13-14, 2018. 

Rafranz DavisRafranz Davis has dedicated her career to empowering students and teachers to share their voices throughout their communities and the world. She uses her platform across the edtech ecosystem to advocate for STEM and creative learning through making while simultaneously challenging communities through the lens of digital equity and diversity. Rafranz is a public school administrator for Lufkin ISD, a rural East Texas community, where she serves as its Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning.


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