Q&A with Dr. Monica Burns: Promoting Equity Through EdTech

Q&A with Dr. Monica Burns: Promoting Equity Through EdTech

Dr. Monica Burns is an EdTech and Curriculum Consultant, author of EdTech Essentials (ASCD, 2021) and former New York City public school teacher. She works with schools and organizations around the world to support PreK-20 educators with thoughtful technology integration.

Through her website ClassTechTips.com, which she launched over a decade ago, and the Easy EdTech Podcast, Monica helps educators place “tasks before apps” by promoting deeper learning with technology. Class Tech Tips became a valued supporter of the 2022 Excellence in Equity Awards, helping to connect mission-driven classroom educators with this valuable opportunity.

In this Q&A, we had a chance to hear Monica’s perspective on the current state of equity in education, how technology is advancing efforts, and learn more about her work.

When did you launch Class Tech Tips and how did you decide to do so?

I launched my blog, ClassTechTips.com just over 10 years ago in spring 2012. I often credit the start of my blogging journey with a phone call from an organization looking for a guest speaker at their upcoming event. After my presentation, the teachers who showed up that night started asking for the name of my blog and my Twitter handle. At that time, I didn’t have an answer, but not too long after, I set up the blog and social media handles and got started sharing.

What value do educators gain from engaging with your resources?

When someone stops by my website, I try to make sure they can gather actionable information that they can use right away, or ideas they can share with a colleague. I work hard to make sure that my resources are easy to find and cover a wide range of EdTech blog posts. Educators can also listen to my technology integration strategies and educator interviews on my podcast, Easy EdTech. In addition to sharing on my blog and podcast, I routinely share tips and answer questions on Twitter and Instagram.

What motivated you to become a supporter of the Excellence in Equity Awards?

When I heard about the Excellence in Equity Awards Awards, I was excited to join as a sponsor. I love how it covers a wide range of categories and is open to stakeholders in various parts of the education community. As someone who shares lots of stories of education technology in action, I appreciate how the Excellence in Equity Awards is set up to identify and amplify stories about the individuals and initiatives that make a difference for students.

How would you evaluate the current state of the discourse around educational equity? What do we need to hear more about?

I think that storytelling is crucial to helping people throughout the education space understand the perspectives of others. One thing we need to hear more about is what teachers are identifying at the classroom level. This is a piece that is sometimes missing from conversations, and understanding a teacher’s perspective and observations through interactions with students and families is essential. I am hopeful that in the future the voices of educators at all levels will be encouraged and supported during conversations on educational equity.

From your observations, what are some of the impactful ways edtech is promoting equitable opportunity for students?

In the EdTech space there are great things happening regarding the promotion of equitable opportunity for students and certainly room to grow. I recently featured a post in partnership with Hapara on my blog where I shared some of the ways they make it easier for teachers to ensure the equitable distribution of resources. For example, with their Digital Backpack, schools can curate diverse collections of academic resources to share with students. Curation of resources is just one way to consider a commitment to this goal. Wakelet is another popular tool for creating collections of resources.

Learn more about Monica’s work and find helpful resources at ClassTechTips.com. You can also connect with Monica on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other popular social media channels.

Learn about the inaugural Excellence in Equity Awards and submit your nominations today at www.ace-ed.org/awards