Nicol E. Turner-Lee, Ph.D.

Posted By Nicole on Sep 18, 2022 | 3 comments

Nicol Turner Lee Accessed from:

Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee has extensive expertise and knowledge in several areas spanning the social sciences, policy, education, and technology. Dr. Turner-Lee dissects some of the root causes of inequity and social stratification in technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. More specifically, she speaks about the risks and opportunities of the digital divide for Americans.

Dr. Turner-Lee’s educational background is in Sociology, which immediately drew me to learn more about her interest in technology. Besides being a sociologist, she is a senior fellow and the director of the Center for Technology Innovation at the Brookings Institution and serves as Co-Editor-In-Chief of TechTank. What interests me the most is her national and global work to deploy broadband networks and governance, reducing barriers to technology and creating meaningful change for communities.  

As we continue to navigate a digital world that none of us quite understands in its entirety, we are faced with inequities that are sometimes embedded in the systems or technologies themselves. Dr. Turner-Lee speaks through a lens of intersectionality, looking at race, income, and technology and how they relate to access for populations who are often and consistently disadvantaged, particularly those of colour, low income, and older individuals.

There are many connections between Dr. Turner-Lee’s work and the education technology field regarding safe and equitable access to digital information. A recently published article titled “Ensuring Equitable Access to AR/VR in Higher Education” looks at access in terms of resources, skills, and the competing responsibilities of introducing technology into some classrooms. I have embedded several links to Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee’s work throughout this post; please enjoy.


Turner Lee, N, Ray, R, Lai, S & Tanner, B. (2022, September 6). Ensuring Equitable Access to AR/VR in Higher Education. TechTank.

Turner Lee, N. (2020, August 24). Tech, Privacy, and Bias in the COVID Era (with Dr. Nicol Turner Lee, Brookings, TechTank) [Video file]. YouTube.

Turner-Lee, N. (2016, December). CV Nicol Turner-Lee. The Brookings Institution, Center for Technology Innovation.

Turner Lee, N. (n.d.). Nicol Turner Lee. The Brookings Institution.


  1. Appreciate all the comments, thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I like your comment regarding the American context, I agree, a great question and topic to explore further. One of the things I am most curious about is Nicol’s work in data governance and policy. With technology being able to easily breach any geographical restraints, I wonder how policies are created to be equitable and widely adopted across countries, are data policies intended for self-regulation by data/tech companies and compliance enforced by individuals, buyers and government? If so, would this suggest international collaboration? I am looking forward to becoming more informed about who and how we discuss policies around data and the implications of data security/privacy for everyone, including learners that may not understand the risks associated with data sharing (the good, the bad and the ugly).

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  2. Thank you so much Nicole for introducing us to the meaningful work of Dr. Turner-Lee. I really appreciated your connection between her work and the field of ed tech and look forward to hearing more of how this work has impacted your practice and your learning as you move through this course. I enjoyed the link to the TechTank site and associated podcasts and in scanning the titles, it looks like there are several that are specific to US issues which given the nature of her work is to be expected. It did cause me to wonder whether she has a Canadian colleague equivalent? Perhaps a question to ask our upcoming speaker on AI and big data.

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  3. Thank you for introducing me to Nicol Turner. I also chose a Nichole (Pinkard) for my assignment and I think there are some similarities I can see between the two as they try to advocate for marginalized people. I look forward to using some of the resources you provided to learn more about Dr. Turner.

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