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Relativity to Enhance Access to Education and Technology with Support from Microsoft

The companies will bolster Justice for Change and Relativity Academic Partners programs

CHICAGO, May 3, 2023 /CNW/ — Relativitya global legal technology company, today announced it is working with Microsoft Corp. to expand the impact of its programs, Justice for Change and Relativity Academic Partners. Relativity and Microsoft will work together to accomplish Relativity’s mission of empowering communities through providing access to the education, technology, and resources necessary for a more equitable society.


“We are deeply committed to driving better outcomes through our social impact programs and are honored and excited that Microsoft has taken notice of our work as well as felt inspired to get involved,” said Phil Saunders, CEO of Relativity. “Microsoft’s generous investment will directly support our ongoing efforts to power the pursuit of justice and expand legal technology education.”

Microsoft will support Relativity’s social impact programs, Justice for Change and Relativity Academic Partners and further advance Relativity’s existing work with nonprofits and academic institutions and strategically expand access to better achieve program goals. They will establish volunteer opportunities and community engagement projects for employees to nurture communities in which they live and work.

“Supporting social programs for justice and expanded legal technology education is important to Microsoft and we are proud to work with Relativity on these issues,” says Justin Spelhaug, Vice President of Tech for Social Impact, part of Microsoft Philanthropies. “Modern cloud technology is a key component to ensure students and policy makers have the tools they need to advance racial and social justice.”

Relativity’s Justice for Change program provides the company’s SaaS product, RelativityOne, free of charge to organizations tackling legal cases and academic and policy research related to racial and social justice. The Relativity Academic Partner program offers professors access to practice-ready curricula and Relativity software, enabling students to gain early exposure to the knowledge and skills needed to be indispensable to their future employers.

“It’s amazing to see what’s possible when we align our resources with other companies like Relativity who are looking to make an impact in the community that’s both palpable and enduring,” said Nisaini Rexach, Manager, Community Engagement, Microsoft Philanthropies. “Thrilled to support Relativity in this capacity.”

“Relativity’s commitment to making a difference not only positively impacts the communities we serve, it also creates opportunities for fellow organizations to join forces and amplify their work,” said Colleen Costello, Head

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Mothers need support managing kids’ technology use

Between March 2020 and June 2022, families in Toronto experienced some of the longest lockdowns in the world. Ontario schools closed for in-person learning for over 27 weekslonger than any other province or territoryand government restrictions on public spaces last for months. Parents were left to figure out how to manage work, child care and virtual school.

We interviewed mothers of young children to reflect on how they managed their children’s screen media practices during this cumulative time.

Our study is part of a larger collaborative research study, with researchers in Australia, the United States, China, Colombia, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Children’s experiences of media consumption and production can vary entirely depending on their context, for example, due to government regulations or socio-economic differences.

Our interviews suggest there is never-ending pressure on mothers to negotiate kids’ technology use. Mothers need support managing these new realities.

Constant re-negotiation of media use

Between January and July 2022, we interviewed 15 mothers in the Greater Toronto Area over Zoom. We recruited parents and caregivers through 10 neighborhood parenting groups on Facebook. Only mothers responded. Participants had children between the ages of four to 12, with people based in downtown and midtown Toronto and North York, as well as Burlington and Niagara.

Mothers worried about video games played alone or with peers in terms of isolation and addiction.

All mothers were in two-parent families, although one was a solo parent with another overseas parent. Most were middle class. When asked to self-identify the racial and ethnic background of both parents, a range of answers included southeast Asian, Chinese, Jewish, white, Chinese Canadian, Scottish, “born in India now Canadian” and Canadian.

Mothers shared that for most of the pandemic, they were reassessing and re-negotiating their children’s use of technology. Negotiations were focused on screen time and home spaces where children used technology.

These negotiations and decisions were loaded with moral implications. They were also refracted through families’ values ​​and practices, mixed with anxiety about children as future adults — and nostalgia for mothers’ own childhoods in less technologically complex times.

Read more: Nostalgia for childhoods of the past overlooks children’s experiences today

Balancing time

Mothers’ reflections on screen time were messy, complicated and sometimes contradictory.

For example, mothers constructed some screen time as “good” if it involved skill-building, educational opportunities, communication with friends or family or

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