About Me

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I have been an elementary and secondary school teacher and administrator. Currently, I am a faculty member in the Faculty of Education at Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. My M.Ed. and Ph.D. had a focus on the educational and linguistic experiences of children who moved from other countries to Canada.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

$35 Tablet Computers for India? Potential for Marginalized People in Countries like Haiti

There has been work in India (and elsewhere) to develop a cheap tablet computer which could connect children in rural areas to the Internet. This is the latest article I've seen on this (click below):

$35 Tablets for India

The article includes a very short video which gives a demo of the voice recognition and Internet capability of the tablet.

It also includes a second section which reviews some of the research on programs like One Laptop Per Child.

If the roll-out of this new tablet can succeed (especially in the "scalability" factor - i.e. distribution and use by a small number of people to massive distribution/access), then it shows great potential for other marginalized areas such as in Haiti. Looking forward to following this!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Educational Leadership and Glocalization

The term "glocal" has been in use for the past 10+ years. However, a 2010 article by Jeff Brooks and Anthony Normore in the journal Educational Policy (title of article is title of this blog post) has piqued my interest in glocal educational leadership.

Much of my focus at the WLU Faculty of Education has been on classroom glocal practice. I am trying to help new teachers develop practices and dispositions which connect the global and local. However, the work of Brooks and Normore (educational leadership and glocalization) may be an area I need to explore further.

Brooks and Normore identify nine areas in which educational leaders must develop glocal literacy: political literacy, economic literacy, cultural literacy, moral literacy, pedagogical literacy, information literacy, organizational literacy, spiritual/religious literacy, and temporal literacy. In each domain area, they provide examples of glocal connections. For example, regarding economic literacy, principals need to understand more than just their own school budget but also need to recognize broader economic influences (e.g. why is there an increase in foreign language classes? why do we see financial literacy as important for students? why do specialized programs for the arts often get cut in favour of literacy and numeracy initiatives when budgets get shaped?).

I'm currently writing an article to extend their work. One focus of the article is to consider whether these nine domain areas are constructed from a particularly North American perspective? i.e. does research from "the south" collaborate these nine areas or would others be included (or deleted)?

A paper that my colleague Dr. Gaetane Jean-Marie (University of Oklahoma) and I have developed will be shared at a symposium that Normore will be at in Brisbane, Australia next month. I'm looking forward to continuing the dialogue with them as we explore how to operationalize (i.e. make into practice) their framework.

Friday, September 14, 2012

BlackBerries and Popular Culture in Haiti

There's an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal about how RIM's BlackBerry Messenger service still reigns in much of the developing world. The article focuses on the "coolness factor" with BBM but we have certainly seen the benefits of BBM in Haiti with school principals: a fast, secure way to connect with other principals. Click on the link below to read the article or watch an associated video:

Wall Street Journal - BlackBerry in Haiti

Monday, September 10, 2012

Cap-Haitien Educational Leadership Networking - October 2012

I'm firming up plans to return to Cap-Haitien (northern Haiti) in early October. We have a signed agreement in place with WLU, University of Oklahoma and the Haitian Ministry of Education (North Haiti Department) to develop a collaborative partnership for educational leadership research and training. I anticipate having the Public University of the North at Cap-Haitien (UPNCH) come on as a signatory on this trip. We are already in conversation with other universities, schools, and NGOs about getting others on-board as well.

The vision is to establish a network of groups involved in education to support a concerted plan to develop school leaders in that region. As I've posted before, there is very little work being done anywhere in Haiti around school leadership. This research network would develop leadership training, and study its effectiveness, specifically in the north of Haiti.

The first step is to agree to work together and develop some terms of reference. From this starting point, we would then identify the needs in the area and get input as to what immediate, and long-term, steps need to be taken to address these needs.

It's exciting to see this next step in my work in Haiti take shape. I've worked with hundreds of school leaders and feel that some good progress has been made in supporting their leadership skills. However, this next step will provide a more structured framework for not only supporting leadership skills but examining how effective we are in developing these over time.

Stay tuned for more details regarding the trip and this collaborative partnership.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Education Beyond Borders: TED Talk Sept. 22 Oakville

I'll be the lead speaker at the Sept. 22 TEDx Talk in Oakville. My topic is education beyond borders with the focus on the Digital Mentoring Project in Haiti. If your're not familiar with TED Talks, these are 15 minute inspirational/informational presentations done around the world at special TED events.  Check out one of my favourite talks by Temple Grandin:


I've had lots of opportunity to speak to groups about the DMP, as well as my other work in Haiti, but it will be great to be part of a larger conversation on "re-imagining" education in different contexts. The talk I will give will be grounded in a book chapter I wrote this summer. The book considered innovative ways in which education is making a difference in the alleviation of poverty in contexts around the world.

We tend to think of contexts such as Haiti in carte blanche frameworks ... all educational efforts are impoverished ... when, in reality, there are many innovative things being done. Usually in these cases, change is being led by a person (or group) with a vision. Other people come alongside the visionary and change starts to happen. I see my job as providing support to these people and helping others to catch a vision for what might be. This is where "education beyond borders" starts to take shape ... educators helping educators within and across national boundaries.

It is my understanding that the TEDx Talk in Oakville will be videotaped and archived by TED. However, if you are interested in attending, please email me (ssider@wlu.ca).