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.

Friday, March 28, 2014

BlackBerry phones supporting social capital in Haiti

This morning, I read that BlackBerry revenues for the past quarter were weaker than predicted. I'm sure there will be announcements about job cuts. Another bad news day for BB.

But that's not the end of the story.

At least not in Haiti.

Last week, 25 BlackBerry phones were distributed to school leaders across Haiti. These school leaders are with a private school network associated with the Baptist church. There are 68,000 students in their schools, often serving the most marginalized communities in Haiti. The phones will allow the leaders to stay connected and to share resources. The superintendent of these schools, Solect Jean Baptiste, is eager to equip his key leaders with the professional knowledge they need to be effective leaders and he sees the BB phones as critical to this process.
I read with interest that the president of Haiti (Martelly) gave a medal of honour to the founder of this association, Wallace Turnbull. Here's a link to the story if you are interested (click on the text): Turnbull Decorated by President Martelly

It's not just this school association that is being helped. Another 20 phones were given to our partner Projects for Haiti to distribute to their key leaders. Thirty phones and tablets are being used by College de la Grace in Pignon. We have distributed 25 other phones to school leaders throughout Haiti in the past. We will take another 40 phones and tablets for other partner schools when we are in Haiti in May.

All because of the support of BlackBerry.

So, BlackBerry is making negative headlines in North America today. But in Haiti, they are impacting the social capital of the country.

For more than a financial quarter.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Haiti Laurier service-learning trip - May 7-18, 2014

Plans for the Laurier service-learning trip to northern Haiti continue to come together. Currently, 15 people are participating on the trip including six Laurier teacher candidates, a director from BlackBerry, two staff from the Ontario Ministry of Education, a local school principal, a retired teacher, and Laurier faculty. Here is an update:

May 7-11 in Pignon (small town between Hinche and Cap-Haitien ... see the map above)
-Laurier teachers will be providing English as a Foreign Language programming to senior high school students at College de la Grace, one of our partners in Haiti
-other team members will provide leadership and teaching workshops
-I will be conducting the first level of research on the Digital Mentoring Project in College de la Grace where we have provided 40 BlackBerry smartphones and tablets to see how they are being used

May 11-18 in Cap-Haitien
-Laurier teachers will be providing support to ESL teachers in Regina Assumpta school and running a conversational English after-school program for senior high school students
-other team members will provide leadership and teaching workshops
-we will be initiating a research project at Regina that will mirror the project we have started at College de la Grace
-we will be conducting a special education needs assessment at the school
-continuing to network with local universities and the Ministry of Education
-we are providing Laurier laptops to a school and a local community organization

Stay tuned for more details as plans for the trip progress!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Assistive Technology to Support Learning for All Students

Students with special educational needs will often access assistive technologies to support their learning. These technologies may include text-to-speech, screen magnifiers, word prediction, voice-to-text, etc.

In a recently published article, Dr. Kimberly Maich (Brock University) and I argue that these technologies can support learning for all students in inclusive classrooms. The article also provides a short description of some of the most popular assistive technologies such as Dragon Naturally Speaking, Kurzweil, and WordQ.

To access the article, click on the following text Assistive Technology to Support Learning for All Students

or directly on the link below:


Monday, March 17, 2014

Traditional and Digital Professional Learning Resources for Teacher Development in Haiti: CIES Conference Presentation

This past week, four colleagues and I presented an overview of the work we have been doing with principals and teachers in Haiti. The presentation was completed at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) annual conference. Our presentation included an examination of how traditional professional development (i.e. face-to-face) can be supplemented and complemented by on-line opportunities.

The presentation team included: Jhonel Morvan (Ontario Ministry of Education), Bertrhude Albert (University of Florida & Projects for Haiti), Priscilla Zelaya (Alachua County School District & Projects for Haiti), and Thelus Wilson (ISTEAH, Haiti).

It is exciting to partner with these individuals and others in Haiti as we nurture the capacity of educators in Haiti to be exceptional leaders.