Tuesday, 16 September 2008

paper on an instrument for gender and ethnicity balance in mobile courses

In October 2008 the prestigious mLearn conference will take place, hosted by the University of Wolverhampton, School of Computing and IT, and will take place on the edge of historic and rural Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Shropshire, United Kingdom.

I feel quite excited about this because I will be presenting a paper on "Integrating Gender and Ethnicity in Mobile Courses ante-design". If you are interested you can read the short paper here, it is just 1A4 so really short.

The paper focuses on an instrument aimed at balancing gender and/or ethnicity in courses previous and during the course development. The idea behind it is that this instrument might result in better learning outcomes due to the fact that learners will identify more to the actors AND at the same time empower learners by a more balanced depiction of gender and/or ethnicity.

By using the instrument data can be obtained (and extrapolated towards a user's need) that helps in both
  • increasing scientific relevance linked to the images (for example if you develop a course in epidemiology it is of big importance to define a patient group relevant to the possible epidemic and factors);
  • empowering learner minority and gender groups.
The instrument is very easy to use (designed in this way to decrease a possible technological threshold) and uses database forms that can be personalized according to the scientist or user needs (organize pictures/actors according to active/passive roles, gender roles, ethnicity...). By making the instrument part of a database form, it allows it to relevantly analyse the data according to the scientific or educational needs of the courses that are being developed.

I developed this instrument because it adds to one of the Millennium Development Goals of UNESCO, more specifically "Promote gender equality and empower women: Eliminate gender disparity in primary and secondary education preferably by 2005, and at all levels by 2015." and it also adds to one of ITM's scientific researches that focuses on gender.

The biggest problem of this instrument is defining ethnicity. This is REALLY difficult and also very sensitive.

If you are going to attend mLearn08 or you are interested in this instrument, let me know.

For anyone attending, my session is planned for Thursday 9 October 2008, from 11.30 - 11.45u in the session Mobile Learning for All in room Telford 2.