Update: Haiti’s Transforming Teaching Through Tablets Project
Written by Michelet Guerrier, Inveneo’s Project Manager in Haiti
In our continuing efforts to support the participating schools in the Transforming Teaching Through Tablets (TTT) Pilot Project, we have had constant communication with the teachers who received Google Nexus Tablets loaded with content for professional development and attended Inveneo’s ICT training program, since our last August report.
Besides regular phone calls and emails to school administrators and teachers, we prepared a two month evaluation which we administer to every teacher participant and school administrator to learn more about what has worked well so far and what needs some improvement. This is so we can provide appropriate support either remotely or on-site. This is a good way to keep the teachers engaged in their own professional development process.
We thought it was a wonderful idea to stay in good communication with the teachers to support them when needed and evaluate the ongoing impact of the project. And the perfect time is during school time between September and June (in the case of Haiti) when teachers and students are really active in the teaching-learning process.
Below is the summary report from the first two-month evaluation (September-October 2014) from the teachers in Petit-Goave, Hyacinthe, and Cascade Pichon.
What has the team learned so far?
Since the submission of their learning portfolio that was a requirement for owning the tablet and participating in our certification ceremony that followed, all the teachers have used their tablets at least five days per week. They have used their individual tablet at home as a reference for lesson planning, reading, and browsing the Internet. At school, it is used as a tool for class instruction whenever possible. Bruny Casseus, a 5th grade teacher at Harry Brakeman says, “With my tablet, I take pictures that I use as teaching materials. I use the French dictionary to look up [a] word’s meaning and spelling when I plan lessons. I also use other applications on the tablet to teach math and facts about animals.” Renault Emilien, who is teaching 6th graders at Ecole Methodiste de Hyacinthe, explains that “being able to use a projector with the tablet in our classrooms is making a big difference in how we teach and how our children learn. We are doing more in less time and the students seem to become more motivated to participate in activities in the classroom”.
Eight teachers at “Ecole Methodiste Hyacinthe” participated in the program and successfully met the requirements of the program. They attended all training sessions, participated actively in workshops, and created and submitted a learning portfolio.
Electricity is still an issue for Harry Brakeman and Cascade Pichon schools. At Harry Brakeman, the teachers have still not found an opportunity to use the projector. The school directed noted that there has been no electricity in the city during the day. In addition, there has been a serious political problem leading to street demonstration in the city since late August 2014 that has terribly affected the functioning of schools in the area.
In Cascade Pichon, one school under construction (with the help of an organization called Heart to Heart) is about to finish. Once fully completed, the school might have a solar power system if funding is found. That will be another huge step in improving education in that community.
We asked the teachers, “in your opinion, what has changed in your teaching thanks to your participation in the techno-pedagogical training program of Inveneo’s TTT project?”
For this question, let me share the teachers’ opinions with you.
According to Marie Therese Philibert, who is responsible for the primary section at Harry Brakeman School: “The tablets are really bringing a change in our school when we consider the applications and resources we have access to now. This is a revolution.”
Catherine Sincere: “I think what has changed in my teaching through my participation in the techno educational training, is how to get and use new and reliable resources to teach in ways that encourage my pupils to better participate in the process. Indeed the Inveneo program allows me to shape young minds and affects the education in an integral way, it shows us how we should exercise our thinking on the subject of education and teaching.”
Emilien Renault (Methodiste Hyacinthe 6th Grade teacher): “With my participation in techno- pedagogical training program of Inveneo, my way of teaching has changed a lot since I implement what I have learned from the training. My students learn better and I find better results. Before I attended the training, I was always the one speaking to the students. But now it is the students who speak and I help them discover the knowledge. I was very surprised to see…what I needed to be a good teacher.”
Guirlene Rene (Harry Brakeman 3rd Grade teacher): “After my participation in the techno- pedagogical training program by Inveneo, teaching becomes easier and [it] helps my students learn better.”
Glose Louis (2nd Grade-Harry Brakeman): “After my participation in the training program, I have learned to make my class more active.”
Question 2: How have your students benefited from your training and use of technology?
Below are some of the answers from the teachers:
Blaise Enseau (Cascade Pichon School): “My students and I have benefited lots of big things from the program. I have used the videos to teach story tales to the students. The training materials have influenced me to use new working methods. Learning about the technology will help me be a good teacher. I like it when I need to check the meaning of a word in the dictionary. I look and find it very fast. When I am a good teacher, my students will be good students.”
Jean Guithaud Barthelemy (Cascade Pichon School): “This training that I attended with the tablet helps me a lot. I have benefited many things. It has brought me a new method for teaching and [will] help my pupils learn better. It is that I see and understand the real value of the training. I have even introduced my pupils to the use of the tablet.”
Jean Marnochy (Harry Brakeman School): “I can say that the tablet is very useful for course presentation. It helps me plan lessons better and faster.”
Compere Desil (Harry Brakeman School): “With this Inveneo Tablet program, I am happy to have been a participant. Besides my learning of technology, I have also learned new things relating to pedagogy that can help teach my students in a modern way. I am now able to train myself with the training materials available on the tablet, and my students can benefit…This training has encouraged in me the interest for research of new tools [for] teaching and learning.”
Mirlande Benjamin (Harry Brakeman 1st Grade Teacher): “I have shared part of what I learned with Inveneo. My pupils have used my tablet to take pictures and make short videos we use as learning tools for all.”
In conclusion, we can say that these teachers have been learning a lot from the program. New habits have been formed. They have become more aware of what planning teaching for learning involves. And we are happy to have facilitated that to happen. The two biggest challenges encountered since the beginning remain the same: electricity and connectivity. But work is being done to overcome these challenges. The school administrators believe that they will achieve much more with more access to electricity and Internet, which I believe, too.
Because we believe that successful technology deployment results from relevant capacity building and ongoing support, we want to keep this healthy relationship with the school administrators and teachers to keep them on the track of improving their professional practice and students’ learning.
Again, we would like to thank our partners. Please, feel proud of your valuable contributions in making a positive change in the lives of the most vulnerable.
On behalf of these teachers, Emilien Renault, a 6th grade teacher at Methodiste Hyacinthe, would like to congratulate Inveneo and its partners for this beautiful program developed for the improvement of education in rural Haïti.