Representdiversity

Representation, Diversity & Inclusion: How We Approach Diversity in Our Content

Representation matters, whether it’s in a big Hollywood blockbuster or a classroom. Flocabulary’s videos are shown to students around the world of different ages, ethnicities, abilities and genders. It is important to us here at Flocab HQ to support every student’s identity by creating content with diverse characters, so that students can see themselves in our lessons.

We love when educators share their students’ excitement with how we portray diversity and inclusion in our lessons. Check out this story that MC Educator Andrea Runnels posted in our Facebook Group:

startaclub

While inclusivity, diversity and representation are key parts of our creative process, we recognize that we can always do better. That’s why we’ve worked with third party organizations to audit our content to identify areas of improvement.

Here are a few of the ways we review our content in order to ensure that we are representing the diverse student body we serve:

Auditing Flocabulary Content

NewSchools Venture Fund

Audits of content are important because they not only impact existing lessons, but also assist in the creation of new ones. In 2015, NewSchools Venture Fund reviewed our science lessons and determined that the characters represented a range of ethnicities and ages, but only the able-bodied. They also saw that only a small percentage of the lessons featured female soloists.

Now, we have included characters with different abilities across all subjects, including our Social & Emotional lesson, Diversity. We have also featured female soloists in more lessons, like Earth’s History with Sammus or Allusions with Latasha. 

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

In 2017, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee reached out to us to provide recommendations for making sure Flocabulary content didn’t perpetuate misrepresentations of Arab and Muslim culture and history. Based on their recommendations, we made updates to “Modern Middle East,” which has been renamed to “Conflicts in the Middle East,” based on their suggestions.

The ADC also suggested that we use the term “Da’esh” in addition to ISIS, because ISIS is a term that is associated with Islam. “Da’esh” is the term many Arabs and Muslims use, and means “the dishonorable.” We’ve also included this term in recent Week in Rap videos.

We created or updated Flocabulary lessons based on these organizations’ feedback. Check them out:

Our Internal Process

After spending time writing and editing your own essay, it becomes harder to see the mistakes and have an objective eye. This can happen during the creative process at Flocab, too, and we strive to have several people view our videos before we put them on the website. We do this in order to be as inclusive and eliminate as many mistakes as possible.

We recently created a “Historical Figures” topic area under our Social Studies section, with some existing lessons as well as lessons currently in development. Through grouping our biographical units altogether, we realized that we were doing a good job representing different genders and ages, but don’t have any Asian or Asian-American figures listed. We’re working to increase that representation in our next batch of lessons.

Our lessons go through a lot of changes before they go public. We often have to go back and modify illustrations in order to provide more diversity and representation. Most of these modifications come from organic suggestions from the team, but occasionally, we’ll release a video and fix it due to feedback.

For our Hyperbole lesson, we wanted to represent the song’s rapper, Sammus, as the character. In the first iteration, her skin was drawn lighter than it is in real life. So we changed it. Check out the various iterations below.

We’re committed to expanding representation in all Flocabulary videos, and want to be transparent with our viewers about how we approach diversity in our content. If you ever have feedback for us, just drop us an email at info@flocabulary.com.

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