Equity in online learning

I appreciate that we discussed this topic in class. I was intentionally being aware of equity and thought I was teaching equitably. As Katia talked, I realized I was missing a significant point. I am not learning disabled; my position is different. I can not possibly assume what it is like to access technology with a disability, as I do not have that perspective. For example, I did not realize that the drag-and-drop function would be difficult for some people to manipulate. On the surface, the function makes it easier to use technology, not harder.

I had to check and see if the Yukon has a Disabilities Act. It does not.

Yukon does not have assessability legislation

The Yukon Human Rights Commission helps:

duty of care

As does the city of Whitehorse, for those who live in Whitehorse:

Whitehorse Disabilities Advisory Committee

The Department of Education is another story. Check out this news story as it explains the latest controversy regarding students on IEP’s. This is a snapshot of the issue:

I am currently teaching a Summer course to some pre-service teachers in the YNTEP program at Yukon University. It about teaching Mathematics in Elementary Schools. We are talking about equity in Mathematics and using the text “Mathematical mindsets: unleashing students’ potential through creative math, inspiring messages, and innovative teaching” by Jo Boaler.

 Mathematical mindsets: unleashing students’ potential through creative math, inspiring messages, and innovative teaching

While the discussion centers around ways educators can make math equitable for all students, I believe her strategies can be applied to all students for every subject. These are her equitable strategies:

  1. Offer all students high-level content
  2. Work to change ideas about who can achieve in mathematics
  3. Encourage students to think deeply about mathematics
  4. Teach students to work together
  5. Give girls and students of color additional encouragement to learn about science and math
  6. Eliminate (or at least change the nature of) homework

Reference: Boaler, Jo (2016). Mathematical mindsets: unleashing students’ potential through creative math, inspiring messages, and innovative teaching. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

I will end with this quote from a story in the Yukon News, ““Whether it’s 10 minutes before you die or 10 years as you’re getting older, you will be disabled. So it’s not something that just the disabled community needs to get behind, it’s something that every human being that lives in the Yukon needs to get behind.”

8 thoughts on “Equity in online learning

  1. Hi Laura,
    I really like your blog post on equality in online learning. It is encouraging to see how committed you are to fostering an inclusive atmosphere for all kids. Your evaluation of your instructional strategies and application of Jo Boaler’s equitable approaches show how committed you are to fostering student growth and achievement. The comment from the Yukon News serves as a potent reminder of our shared duty to promote diversity and accessibility. Your initiatives to advance equity in mathematics and other areas will definitely benefit your aspiring teachers. Keep up the great job, and may your dedication to empowering children to succeed via inclusive education endure!

    warm regards,

  2. Hi, Laura! Thanks for the great post from a uniquely Yukon perspective! Like you, after Tuesday’s class, I was struck by how much I DON’T know about accessibility, partially because I don’t have the perspective of having a disability. For example, I had never before thought about the different TYPES of disabilities — visual, auditory, physical, intellectual, etc — and how each of these require different accessibility considerations. I also appreciate that you took the time to look into any Yukon legislation dictating accessibility measures — looks like Yukon has a lot of work to do, much like Saskatchewan!!

  3. Hi Laura, like you, I also realized during our class that I do not know a lot about accessibility and is clearly an area I need to do some work in. I thought your perspective of legislation and teaching in the Yukon brought up interesting and important points. It made me think of power and authority and who is in charge of making rules/ laws. If a person has not needed accessibility measures they don’t have that perspective and may not view it as a need. However as Katia said- accessibility we implement benefits the community as a whole.

  4. Hi Laura, thank you for sharing your reflections on equity and accessibility in education. It’s commendable that you were open to learning and recognizing the perspective of students with disabilities. Understanding that certain features, like drag-and-drop functions, may not be accessible for everyone is crucial in creating an inclusive learning environment. I completely agree with you that equitable strategies should be applied to all students and across all subjects. It’s essential to offer high-level content and encourage students to think deeply about the subjects they are studying. Working together and fostering an inclusive mindset can lead to meaningful learning experiences for all.
    I also appreciate your powerful quote from the Yukon News. It reminds us all that accessibility and inclusion are responsibilities shared by everyone in our community. Let’s continue to work together to ensure education is equitable and accessible for all learners.

  5. Hi Laura,

    Like Margarita, I was quite impressed by the Yukon News quote! This is an issue that affects everyone- either through a friend or loved one, or within our own lives (either now or in the future.) Accessibility should be a more talked about issue community-wide, and here’s hoping these discussions point us in that direction!

  6. Hi Laura! Thank you for sharing your own and Yukon’s experiences and perspectives on accessibility. The last quote in your post struck a chord with me and accessibility is something for all to consider and address. While there is much research about accessibility in the brick and mortar schools (whether it is considered and heard by those in power), there is a growing need to also consider and address online accessibility from all aspects. The digital world has become prominent in our daily lives, and we need to keep up with our policies and legislation to support the movement forward.

    Thank you for sharing the math resource. I particularly liked the strategy about high-level content. In the past and even today, I think accessibility has often meant and led to providing content that is not as rich and encouraging critical thinking. But, I do believe that technology is slowly helping us make a shift in thinking and provision of content that not only supports our students’ needs but also provides them with fulfilling and meaningful learning experiences.

  7. I found your post very thought provoking and, like everyone else, I found the final quote very powerful. Similar to you, I felt like I was doing a pretty good job of considering accessibility and equitability. Last class was somewhat daunting as I realized that there is so many other ways to make material accessible and equitable (which I am not neccessarily doing). I do believe accessibility is all a matter of context and relies on the current population of students. Although I have taught students with visual impairments, I have not ever taught a student with complete loss of vision. Therefore, when designing my course I did not have this form of accessibility at the forefront of my planning. This is why I believe that doing course introduction surveys to learn about students’ needs is crucial. Thanks for sharing some perspectives from the Yukon, now it is time for me to explore some similar information about Saskatchewan!

  8. Hi Laura! Your blog post on equality in online learning is excellent. It’s heartening to see how dedicated you are to creating an inclusive environment for all children. Your assessment of your instructional tactics and use of Jo Boaler’s equitable approaches demonstrate your dedication to encouraging student growth and achievement. The Yukon News comment serves as a powerful reminder of our common responsibility to encourage diversity and accessibility.
    Thanks for sharing such an informative Blog..

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