Bringing Diverse Voices into the EdTech Conversation
An interview with consultant and presenter Desiree Alexander
Desiree Alexander, Ed.S. is the founder and CEO of Educator Alexander Consulting and Regional Director of North Louisiana for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana. She’ll be among the featured presenters in the Future of Ed Tech Educators track at the 2020 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), this coming January in Miami.
As Alexander's career progressed from her role as a librarian through earning multiple master’s degrees, she found herself drawn to technology and an increased desire to support teachers with improved tech integration. There's a "less is more" approach that Alexander embraces that promotes simplicity in the classroom. As she explains, "When I'm teaching teachers about technology, my aim is to stop trying to use everything. There's too much out there. There are too many products that do the same thing. Just stop. Stop the craziness. Stop trying to use the hottest thing and use what's good."
There is a fine line between exposing teachers to new technology and genuinely providing meaningful, lasting professional development. Alexander learned the hard way that it was about teaching to the teacher rather than the content. "When I first started presenting, I was all about the content. I have an hour. I need to get to a certain point. I need everyone to be quiet and listen to what I'm saying. That was where I was. I look back and kind of laugh at myself and say, 'That is where I was as a presenter.'" She soon learned that giving space and allowing teachers time to talk, collaborate, and take a moment to work with the product created professional development with the most impact.
Recently, Alexander has become interested in taking a deeper dive into the technology space by examining the relevant effects of diversity. The digital divide in tech needs better examination, and she is excited about leading a session at FETC centered around the subject. Alexander views diversity through two different lenses. One is the student lens and the other, the adult. "From the student lens, it's about digital equity and the digital divide. It's talking about students not having access to assignments and homework and trying to be progressive. If they don't have the Internet or the device itself, then how are we equitable?"
It's the adult lens that piques Alexander's interest the most. "I'm really interested in diversity in technology from the adult side. We go to conferences, workshops, seminars, and summits, and we see the same people discussing technology ─ the same topics, keynote addresses, the same, same, same. And because the field is led by white males, we're not seeing the diversity that we need to see in technology. How do we change that? How do we continue a movement of seeing more diverse voices in technology?"
Alexander is excited to see a growing interest in the subject of diversity in technology. Her sessions have increased in attendance, and many technologists want to know more. Leaders are beginning to ask, "How will I get more diverse people? How do we fix this problem?" Alexander finds the trend to be uplifting and hopeful as long as the focus remains on answering the most important question of all, "How can we do better?"
About Desiree Alexander
Ms. Desiree Alexander, Ed.S. is an award-winning, multi-degreed educator who has been in the educational field since 2002. She is currently the Founder CEO of Educator Alexander Consulting and the Regional Director of North Louisiana for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana. She holds multiple technology certifications, including, but not limited to, IC3 certification, Google Certified Trainer, Google Innovator, Apple Teacher and Microsoft Innovative Educator Master Trainer.
She holds a Bachelor, a Master + 30, and an Education Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Louisiana State University. A Master of Library Science from Texas Woman’s University. A Master of Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Technology Leadership from Nicholls State University. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctorate in Education in Educational Leadership from Lamar University.
Ms. Alexander is one of the 2017 Young Professional Initiative 40 Under 40 Awards Honoree, 2017 Center for Digital Education Top 30 Technologists, Transformers & Trailblazers, 2017 PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator for Louisiana, 2016 A+PEL Member of the Year, 2015 Librarian of the Year for Louisiana Librarian Association, 2014 Leader of the Year for Region 2 Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators, and a campus 2015 Teacher of the Year in the Zachary Community School District.
The 40th anniversary Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) will take place January 14-17, 2020 in Miami, Fla. Registration is now open at https://www.fetc.org/register