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.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

$20 tablet computers

I've posted a number of articles dealing with the "one laptop per child" phenomenon. Here is a recent one on the new $20 tablets developed for children in India (but with ramifications for children everywhere):

India's $20 tablets

Peru's massive and expensive experiment with laptops for children was a failure in many regards, primarily because of the lack of training and support which went along with the project (see this article: Forbes - Peru's failed laptop project). Certainly, children will explore and utilize these user-friendly devices with or without teacher support (see this article: Technology Review - Ethiopian children use tablets without teacher support). However, to really be used effectively to access and build knowledge and skills within school systems, teachers need to receive training so they can use the devices to their maximum potential.

The early results from the pilot project I have run in Haiti (Digital Mentoring Project) has indicated the same: portable devices facilitate knowledge-sharing and the creation of professional learning communities, but they are not used to their full potential when the training for, and "buy in" from, those using them is limited.

Monday, November 12, 2012


This article describes a school in Britain and how it is using mobile technology to twin students in its school with schools elsewhere. Very similar ideas to what we are doing in Haiti and Canada with school principals:


Updates on Educational Leadership Projects in Haiti

It's been a while since I updated my blog on some of the work we are doing (or hoping to do) in Haiti.

1. School leadership study - we have put a grant application into the Cdn government to support a comparative study of six schools in two different regions of Haiti. The schools would represent urban/rural, private/public, and elementary/secondary. We hope to examine the student and administrator experiences and look at how their perceptions of school life may be similar or different. This will be a descriptive study, filling a gap in the academic literature on student and principal experiences in schools.

2.  Educational leadership conference - another grant application has been submitted seeking financial support to host a leadership conference in Cap-Haitien in May, 2013. In partnership with the Ministry of Education, we anticipate inviting approximately 50 school leaders from across the North Haiti to the conference. Presentations would be provided on issues identified by the Director of the Ministry of Education for the north. Working groups would follow-up on the various identified issues.

3. A third grant has been submitted to support the delivery of a teacher training resource that will help teachers with engaging students and supporting literacy through an activity-based curriculum. The Canadian Intramural and Recreation Association (CIRA) has donated approximately $6,000 of materials (in French) which would serve as the curriculum for the training. Our target is to train lead teachers in 50% of the schools in the north.

4.  Leadership book. I have had 10 Haitian school leaders respond to my call for chapters for a new leadership book. I will edit the book and add sections providing context and an examination at how research can inform improved educational practice in Haiti. The author chapters will complete their chapters this fall and we anticipate launching the book at a large literary fair which occurs in Port au Prince each June.

There are other projects in the wings (e.g. a potential ESL camp, technology support for the public university in the north) and we continue to write about the various projects (e.g. a chapter was just accepted for publication last week, an article for a journal is under review). Momentum is building!