Equity in AI: A conversation with The EdTech Equity Project

February 16, 2023

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As AI takes the spotlight, one critical consideration must stay at the fore of its everyday use — equity. This is even more true when it comes to AI-powered tools designed for kids.

In October last year, SoapBox became the first AI company to be awarded the new Prioritizing Racial Equity in AI Design certification from Digital Promise and the EdTech Equity Project.

EdTech Equity’s mission is to champion the needs of students of color by promoting and guiding the design and development of more equitable products at edtech companies. 

Martyn Farrows and Amelia Kelly recently hosted a discussion on equity with the co-founders of The EdTech Equity Project, Madison Jacobs and Nidhi Hebbar.

Some short clips from their discussion are below. You can also watch the full hour-long conversation here:

Race, technology, and education 

Prior to founding The EdTech Equity Project, Nidhi and Madison felt there was a lack of public dialogue on the intersection of race, technology, and education, and a lack of understanding of how black and brown students experience bias in edtech products.

Nidhi explains further:

Ensuring equity in voice AI

Amelia describes the SoapBox approach to gathering voice data to ensure our datasets represent voices of all races and ethnicities. The process is called “Describe the Picture.”

Madison follows by explaining why “Describe the Picture” is a simple, yet profound, way to test voice AI, ensuring it understands children when they speak naturally, with friends, parents, or siblings.

Talking equity with Product teams 

Madison explains how Product teams can challenge assumptions and encourage more open and creative conversations about equitable product design.

Designing for equity is good for your bottom line

Equity-led design not only leads to better, more inclusive products it also encourages more cross-functional collaboration and a more positive company culture overall. Amelia explains:

Additional resources on equitable AI

  • EdTech Equity’s comprehensive toolkits for edtech companies, school leaders, and equity advocates with tangible practices to implement and rubrics for evaluating equitable edtech products.
  • How SoapBox earned the Prioritizing Racial Equity in AI Design certification
  • Nidhi’s blog on designing edtech products with students and teachers
  • Big Heart’s guide to discussing race with young children
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