Centre for Distance Education

Technology, racism and unpeeling the onion

Written by Samantha Ahern, CDE Fellow |

Members of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) Anti-Racism and Learning Technology Special Interest Group have been developing a free set of tools to address racism. The draft toolkit is currently available and community feedback is being sought. 

Technology, racism and unpeeling the onion

Written by Samantha Ahern, CDE Fellow |

Members of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) Anti-Racism and Learning Technology Special Interest Group have been developing a free set of tools to address racism. The draft toolkit is currently available and community feedback is being sought. 

Digital technologies and media in all their forms are increasingly ubiquitous in broader society and education, both nationally and globally. However, they are not neutral. They are both socially constructed and construct society. The social nature of their construction bakes in and reinforces existing epistemologies and biases, both conscious and unconscious. This can lead to the exclusion and isolation of the non-normative group(s). In teaching and learning contexts this can impact learners’ sense of belonging, engagement with their course of study and ultimately their outcomes. 

Overview of the toolkit


The draft toolkit developed by the ALT Anti-Racism and Learning Technology SIG provides a series of prompts to help un-peel the onion and support those designing and creating digital learning, and supporting and procuring digital tools.

The ‘Tool’ section of the site links to a form containing a series of prompts one could use while working on a technology enhanced learning project or piece of work. The broad categories of prompts the toolkit provides are as follows:

  • Communities
  • The project team
  • Learning content
  • Tools and platforms
  • Post-project reflection

A ‘Further Resources’ section offers suggestions mapped to the five category areas in the toolkit and a ‘AR in LD and ID’ section is aimed at scenarios where one is facilitating learning or instructional design workshops that draw on frameworks that aren’t specifically anti-racist. This part of the toolkit offers guidance on where in those frameworks you might incorporate anti-racism, for a wide range of frameworks.

In order to further develop the toolkit, both in terms of usefulness and usability a community consultation is currently underway. Colleagues are invited to engage with the prototype prompt tool and to provide feedback.

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