Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay
In about 10 days time, quite a few people from #FemEdTech will be attending #ALTC Conference – Data, Dialogue, Doing in Edinburgh. I hope they get the chance to meet up and chat. Many others from #FemEdTech will be participating remotely, and I shared a few ideas on Virtual Participation at ALTC 2019. So, all in all, there will be plenty of dialogue and doing (and reports on doing) over the next 2 weeks. There will also be a lot of dialogue about doing with data at the conference.
We collect some data at our #FemEdTech Curation Space, for example Curators with their slots, Twitter handles and any links/reflections they supply, along with curator recorded #tweets, #follows, #followers eg Volunteers 2019. The metrics give us one view of how the #FemEdTech network is developing, complemented by the qualitative experiences of participating, reflections that appear on Twitter, and in blog posts and keynotes where #FemEdTech is discussed. The most recent example of this is a podcast conversation between Maren Deepwell and Terry Greene. It’s a good listen!
Recently, I read a really interesting article from the London Review of Books (login for 3 free articles/month) where Lorna Finlayson casts a critical eye on feminism today:
“For that reason, our feminism, too, must be diffused throughout the rest of our politics –not held apart from it– if it is to be capable of advocating for more than a tiny minority of women.”
Feminism infuses #FemEdTech but as a network we seem to be predominantly white, that tiny minority of women that Finlayson refers to, possibly reflecting the demographics of learning technology professionals, though we don’t have any statistics on this. Staying Power, by Nicola Rollock researched the career experiences of 20 of the 25 UK’s Black female professors, revealing bullying, harassment and obstacles to promotion, as well as frequent and wearing racial micro-aggressions. Rollock offers 21 recommendations in five key areas to UCU.
So what can we do as a network of people who probably do not reflect the demographic of our broader context of education, or society? I realise that we are increasingly attracting FemEdTechers beyond the UK but setting #FemEdTech within a particular UK context allows us to examine ourselves within broader contexts in the UK.
What is our focus in #FemEdTech?
Are we concerned only with gender in professional learning technology contexts, primarily in the UK?
How can we diffuse our feminism through the rest of our politics as we address inequality?
In setting up our Open Space to accompany a session proposal for OER19, we referred to ongoing Values work in FemEdTech, led by Helen Beetham and myself since 2016; built on work from the Pressed conference for our Code of Conduct; and discovered an interesting approach for “aspirational metrics” D’Ignazio & Klein(2018) for their forthcoming book Data Feminism. They make their values explicit under five headings at the page Our Values and Our Metrics for Achieving Them
“We insist on intersectionality
We advocate for equity
We prioritize proximity
We acknowledge the humanity of data
We are reflexive, transparent and accountable”
Their method to achieve accountability is fascinating. They identify eight structural problems, Racism, Patriarchy, Classism, Colonialism, Cissexism, Heteronormativity, Ableism and Proximity, and then give aspirational and draft metrics for addressing the problems in their book. Final actual metrics will be available once the book is published.
It is one thing to use this approach for a book. Would it be possible to adopt a similar approach in our network?
We’d be really interested in any response you have to anything in this post to help develop #FemEdTech values. Here at the Open Space, Writings can be text, images, audio, GIFs, video or anything that works for you. Here are some tips on How to Add Writings if this is your first visit.
D’Ignazio, C. and Klein, L. (2018) Our Values and Our Metrics for Achieving Them. Available at: https://bookbook.pubpub.org/pub/zkzi7670 (Accessed: 24 November 2018).
Finlayson, L. (2019) ‘Travelling in the Wrong Direction’, London Review of Books, 41(15), pp. 7–10. Available at: https://www.lrb.co.uk/v41/n13/lorna-finlayson/travelling-in-the-wrong-direction
Rollock, N. (2019) Staying Power: The career experiences and strategies of UK Black female professors. Available at: https://www.ucu.org.uk/media/10075/Staying-Power/pdf/UCU_Rollock_February_2019.pdf