COVID19 Changing the Look of Diversity in Technology and Education
William Jackson, M.Ed. #MyQuestToTeach
The image of speakers is sometimes displayed in traditional
media outlets as white men or women who are classified as
experts in their respective fields. They are highlighted by
their choice of clothing, distinguishing smiles, posing and
their proximity of the audiences. Each element is strategic
and in place for a visual element.
Many times people of color and culture are in the background
of photos, videos or information displays with complying smiles
and engaged viewing. They are in the backgrounds sometimes
as blurred images that are strategically placed to show that
there are people of color, but they are not the central point
and not in positions of leadership, engagement and value.
The term “representation matters” is a valuable view point
because youth, teens and young adults need to see people
that look like them or similar to them in order to place future
careers in their minds. Seeing a person of color in power
is not the same as seeing a person of color in the background.
Youth, teens and young adults of color need to see that their
communities are empowering each other, they are the ones
engaged and sharing valuable information. The decline of
Black male teachers has a profound mental effect on youth,
teens and young adults. Because they do not see them also
means there is less value for men because they are not
influential in their abilities to educate, mentor and be
effective role models.
This is not to say whites are not effective in the educational
process, but to say as a teacher of 32 years primarily
teaching in elementary education, young people do not
see a representation of themselves. The value they place
on applying education is diminished. The education in
the classroom should be applied to the students life to
show that education can elevate them past where they
are without the constant barrage of telling them because
they are poor, challenged and “at risk,” education is a
luxury that can only be provided by whites to help them
rise above human challenges.
Youth of color and culture should be taught that education
is empowering and they can achieve much in life and that
others of color are successful. Being a person of color is
not a bad thing because they too can be successful.
That the learning they receive can take them far because
they have awesome dreams that can be accomplished and
more can be gained and earned.
Parents of color need to take their children of color and
culture to Technology and STREAM events and activities
to exposure their children to future careers as COVID19
shows how valuable STREAM learning is.
There are a growing number of technology conferences
that are engaging youth, teens and young adults so they
are not only getting hands on training, but having seeds
planted in their minds about future opportunities in
Technology and STEAM.
KidsCamp conferences that are associated with
WordCamp conferences are unique learning adventures.
Integrating the elements of STEAM so that critical and higher
order thinking can be applied to enhance the learning of Web
Development that can be shared in other careers.
An example Aida Correa (Afro-Latina) and William Jackson
(African American), will be speakers on the upcoming
WordCamp Santa Clarita conference that will be online.
They have spoken at multiple WordCamp technology
conferences and teaching at KidsCamp conferences
with a focus on STEAM, Web Development, integration
of Design Theory and building future digital leaders
youth, teens and young adults in the United States,
Canada and Central America.
They are Organizers for the KidsCamp with WordCamp
Jacksonville, Florida, teachers in KidsCamp Miami,
Florida and volunteering from Canada, and
Aida Correa (Afro-Latina) represents mothers,
grandmothers, she is an author, Artist, blogger,
business owner (LoveBuilt Life, LLC), florist and true
21st century Renaissance woman. She participates in
sharing the love of learning and living life more
Aida can be found at LoveBuilt Life, LLC.
Her passion for the “open source” community and participating
in WordCamp and KidsCamp conferences locally (Jacksonville,
Florida), nationally and internationally shows as she teaches
youth, teens and young adults across genders, generation
and culture. Her diversity speaks volumes for girls and
women of Latina heritage how technology can help share
success and career choices.
Mary Job (Nigerian) is another example of an innovative and
progressive women that is a business owner and mentor to
men and women being engaged in tech. She manages on
Slack WP Nigeria to engage, empower and advocate for
Nigerians to grow in the WP or WordPress community.
Mary can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/maryojob
No matter what community youth are from they need to see
that people that look like them are making decisions in
leadership, creativity and innovation. They already see people
like them in sports and entertainment, they need to see people
that are creative, smart, intelligent and innovative.
Digital engagement is being made at technology conferences,
workshops, seminars to bring to light that people of color and
culture are smart, they are in leadership and they are influencers.
As more and more people of color are YouTubers, Instagrammers,
Twitter Leaders, PodCasters, etc the value is that new areas
of learning can open new careers of learning, innovation and
COVID19 is showing that communities of color and culture need
to have access to people of color that are doctors, researchers,
dentists, attorneys, eye doctors, internists, pediatricians and
other related medical and STREAM innovators.
See the changing look of diversity can be found at many
campuses of HBCU – Historically Black Colleges and Universities
that are in many ways leaders in STEM, STEAM, STREAM
and CSTREAM fields.