We the Educators is a campaign that employs a series of videos and a literature review to stimulate dialogue around personalization, standardization, privatization and datafication within public education.
A global campaign produced in partnership with the Alberta Teachers’ Association is aiming to start conversations to counteract the negative impacts of educational technology on public education.
Called We the Educators, the campaign includes a detailed literature review and five animated short films released in three languages. The campaign aims to raise awareness of four factors that influence the quality of public education: personalization, standardization, privatization and datafication.
ATA Staff Officer
“This is resisting the forces of privatization and standardization in education,” said Phil McRae, an Association staff officer and researcher who was involved in developing the campaign.
“We called it We the Educators to reclaim the term educator in a world where companies are suggesting that algorithms and software platforms become the teacher.”
The videos explain the importance of truly personalized education for the success of every student, the difference between standards and standardization, the dangers of privatization in education and how datafication turns many aspects of our lives into computerized data that is converted into new forms of value.
“This is the first time globally we’ve ever segmented out these issues as a profession and tried to bring this to a public conversation,” McRae said.
The hope is that these conversations will include parents, teachers and policy-makers.
“We’re not going to control this conversation,” McRae said.
“We the Educators is a launch platform and once it goes out into the world, which it has, we want people to engage in this discourse.”
Launched at the Unite for Quality Education and Leadership Conference on May 3, the campaign also involves Education International and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation. British technology innovator Graham Brown-Martin produced the films.
“The processes of standardisation, privatisation and datafication have the potential to drastically narrow the curriculum while reducing learner choice, inclusion and teacher autonomy,” Brown-Martin wrote in a blog post prior to the program’s launch. “Such a system can only deliver automatons at a time when we need the exact opposite.”
These films and the literature review are being made public via a Creative Commons licence as part of a deliberate strategy that runs counter to the industrialization of education.
“By releasing valuable resources into the creative commons, We The Educators hopes to provide teachers, parents and policy-makers with the ammunition for conversations and a greater understanding of what is at stake before we, as a society, do something that we might later regret,” Brown-Martin wrote.
The campaign is generating worldwide notice.
Diane Ravitch, former U.S. assistant secretary of education, mentioned the campaign on her blog and urged readers to get involved.
“It is an international rebellion against corporate reform,” she wrote. “Join.” ❚
We the Educators
Campaign resources can be found at www.wetheeducators.com.
The campaign is active on the following social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and Medium.