Considering national dialogues around race, inequality, and discrimination in America, educators—more than ever—must ensure that our classrooms and schools foster equity. Embedded within equity are the concepts of listening to all voices and allowing those from marginalized groups to speak their truths. Unfortunately, studies consistently show that, in classrooms nationwide, white male students participate in classes at a disproportionately high rate. This leaves female students, students of color, and others out of the conversations that are happening in our classrooms.
The iPad app named “Equity Maps” is a tool that assists educators in tracking the level of equity within students’ classroom participation. The app is designed to track the level of participation in classrooms and discussions through allowing educators to input students’ gender identity, race, ethnicity, and other demographic factors. Educators can then, using the intuitive interface, track students’ participation during a class or discussion. Once the class or discussion has ended, the app displays the level of equity in terms of the number of times students participated, the length of “air time” each student had, and more. Additionally, the app can track the types of comments students made during the class or discussion, making it an extremely useful tool for teachers using whole-class discussions as a regular pedagogical technique.
Equity Maps has helped my students and me reflect on our class participation and make self-regulated adjustments to ensure that all voices are heard equally. If education is the “great equalizer,” let’s embody equity, and make certain that our classrooms are equitable.
Submitted by Jonathan Lancaster, Bergen County Vocational-Technical Schools EA
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