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Frances Bell

In reviewing contributions of women in educational technology, I was thinking about Weller writing in his introduction to 25 Years of Ed Tech about the “historical amnesia of Ed Tech” (2020), something that is echoed by Watters in her blog post (2014). With this in mind, I was struck by Frances Bell, a former lecturer and researcher who notably consults, Tweets (2020), blogs (2014), and advocates for care and justice in OER through crafting (2019b). It was fascinating to see someone like Bell continuing to not only discuss but actively seek to advocate for change on a human level after retirement, including Tweets and blog posts on women’s issues in educational technology, Craftivism (Craft + Activism = Craftivism, n.d.) regarding OER at OER20 Conference, as well as publishing conference papers (2016a) and journal papers (2016b). Her work appears to focus largely on open education, MOOC’s and Rhizomatic Learning, with a strong interest in feminism and women in educational technology.

An additional consideration in choosing to highlight Bell was her post titled, “Acknowledging and making women more visible on social media platforms” (Bell, 2019a). In it Bell notes her own experiences being highlighted previously on Twitter, in particular Twitter’s method of notifying participants, which led to concerns regarding a flood of notifications. Noting a paper by Funes and Mackness, Bell highlights how efforts to include a particular individual or group may inadvertently exclude them instead. In this case, the result was due to Twitter’s algorithms and the impacts of default settings, however there are certainly other instances where this might apply. Reasons why Twitter would handle it this way, such as increased revenue from additional traffic, however the flood of traffic does create annoyance and, it could be argued, overwhelm. This relates back to Chapter 25 where Weller discusses Ed Tech and dystopia (2020, pp. 169-177), and raises questions regarding how we, as EdTech practitioners, might ensure that discussions highlighting contributions and contributors both benefit the contributor/contribution while minimizing any negative impacts, including annoyances and overwhelm regarding traffic and notification increases. This is particularly true if we encourage our students to participate on Social Media as part of coursework or practice, and highlights in a small way how Bell’s experiences can benefit EdTech at large.


Bell, F. (2014). Frances Bell [Blog]. Retrieved from https://francesbell.com/all-the-blog/
Bell, F. (2016). Conference papers [Blog]. Retrieved from https://francesbell.com/things-ive-made/publications/conference-papers/
Bell, F. (2016). Journal papers. Retrieved from https://francesbell.com/things-ive-made/publications/journal-papers-2/
Bell, F. (2019, November 13). Acknowledging and making women more visible on social media platforms – It’s complicated. Retrieved from https://francesbell.com/uncategorized/acknowledging-and-making-women-more-visible-on-social-media-platforms-its-complicated/
Bell, F. (2019, November 11). FemEdTech Quilt of Care and Justice in Open Education. OER20. https://oer20.oerconf.org/news/2019/11/femedtech-quilt-of-care-and-justice-in-open-education-femedtech-quilt-oer20-by-frances-bell/
Bell, F. (2020, September 19). Frances Bell (@francesbell). Twitter. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/francesbell
Craft + activism = craftivism. (n.d.). Craftivism. Retrieved September 20, 2020, from http://craftivism.com/
Watters, A. (2014, June 18). Un-Fathom-able: The hidden history of Ed-Tech. Hack Education. http://hackeducation.com/2014/06/18/unfathomable-cetis2014
Weller, M. (2020). 25 Years of Ed Tech. Athabasca University Press. https://doi.org/10.15215/aupress/9781771993050.01

One Response

  1. Jean-Pierre, your choice of Frances Bell was an excellent choice. It appears she retired in 2013, yet remains active with a blog and twitter. I am hoping an algorithm doesn’t delete my comment, incase the blog sees me as flood of traffic.

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