Inveneo United Methodist Church of Resurrection Archives

Why Education Improves with Tablets in Rural Haiti

  1. Posted by Jana Melpolder on June 16, 2014 in the categories: Education, News, Projects
One of the sessions from Inveneo's TTT Project. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

One of the sessions from Inveneo’s TTT Project. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

Inveneo has worked very hard to help teachers in rural Haiti gain adequate access to new educational tools and resources. Led by the our team’s project manager in Haiti, Michelet Guerrier, Inveneo recently held a third Tablet training event, part of the Transforming Teaching through Tablets (TTT) project. The training, which was held in a remote part of southeast Haiti called Cascade Pichon, lasted three days. It hosted a total of 15 teachers who came from three separate schools.

How are these Tablets and training session helping teachers achieve greater educational success with their students? What are teachers using them for, and what are the challenges that come with the Tablets?

Greater Access to Digital Content

A session on different learning styles. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

A session on different learning styles. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

Michelet reports that Haitian teachers have been using their Tablets as a resource library. They were most interested in the offline dictionaries and the digital library that offers hundreds of books right at their fingertips. In addition, the Tablets also offer French grammar content which the teachers found useful to create better lessons for their students.

Professional Development

During Inveneo’s training sessions, not only were teachers provided the apps and tools to work on their Tablets, but they were also given a session on professional development. Michelet held a few sessions where he presented apps on the Tablet to model how some of the apps can be adapted for teaching, learning, and evaluation. To gain practice the teachers did a simulation class for each other, and feedback was then offered from their peers.

The school under construction. This is what the school looked like on May 30, 2014. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

The school under construction. This is what the school looked like on May 30, 2014. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

Awareness of ICT Issues

The teachers in Haiti were very happy with the Tablets and tablet training process. It’s been reported that they are using Tablets at least five days per week! With all these positive points there are also a few problems that go along with using Tablets.

Internet connectivity is not very strong but very much a challenge in Cascade Pichon. During the training Michelet and a few others traveled to nearby hills to see if there was a better connection. A weak signal was available (at times) but it wasn’t good enough to send emails or to use Google’s search engine.

The second issue at hand is the lack of electricity. The school nearby is currently under construction and does not yet offer the community electricity. This gives the teachers limited time that they can use the Tablets. To charge up, teachers end up going outside of Cascade Pichon to charging stations (where they also charge their phones). To charge a Tablet it costs 25 Haitian gourdes which equals about $0.55 USD.

Michelet left the latest TTT training session in Haiti on a positive note. He describes “after these sessions, we are convinced that the decision to bring the Teacher Tablet project to this remote community was a complete gain considering the long-term impact that [it] should have on the teachers, students, and the community as [a] whole.”

Inveneo is proud to partner with other organizations to make this project possible. We would like to thank UMCom, Library for All, Gumdrop Cases, Heart to Heart, the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, Google, and the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection for being a part of this continued project in rural Haiti.

Tablet Training for Teachers in Haiti

  1. Posted by Jana Melpolder on May 14, 2014 in the categories: Education, News, Projects

Inveneo is committed to improving education throughout Haiti through the use of ICTs, particularly Tablets.

Teachers gather together to send and receive files via Bluetooth. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

Teachers gather together to send and receive files via Bluetooth. Photo credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

On Friday, April 10, 2014, United Methodist (UM), Heart to Heart, and our Inveneo Haiti team met together to select the 3rd pilot school for the TTT (Transforming Teaching through Tablets) project. The Inveneo team agreed to select a school in Cascade Pichon, near Bellanse (in the southeast part of the country). Pastor Cayce, on behalf of UM, proposed the school. This was in collaboration with Heart to Heart International, who has been doing incredible projects in Pichon for education, healthcare, and community organizing.

A few days later, we headed early to Cascade Pichon, which can be quite difficult to get to by car. We took the challenge head-on and drove the rocky and dangerous road to meet the community of Pichon. Soon it was time to launch the training and put Tablets in the hands of these incredibly motivated teachers!

The Teacher Tablet Training had 15 teachers from three schools (FORPPE du Nazaréen de la Cascade, Ecole Nationale Bois-de-Lance, and Ecole Nationale Nan Hauteur). Most of the teachers walked 2-3 hours to attend the all-day training. In three days we had an intensive 20-hour training for the primary school teachers. We held the training at the only health clinic in the community (since there is no local school building), and our electricity came from a generator from the only place visitors stay when they come to the community.

Enseau Blaise shows what he discovered on the Tablet. Photo Credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

Enseau Blaise shows what he discovered on the Tablet. Photo Credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

During those three days, we introduced the teachers to the concept of professional development as a lifetime process. They concluded that professional development was a “must” for teachers to improve their capacity and facilitate learning. Although they were very interested in using the Tablets, I felt that the professional development module was equally important.

What did the Haitians teachers think of the training? Vitane Jean, one of the two female participants, thought that the training allowed them to understand that there is always room for improvement to become a better teacher. Chango Noncent, the School Director of Ecole Nationale Bois-de-Lance, said the training offered the rare opportunity for teachers to get together and learn from each other. The Inveneo team was happy to see how fast they understood that they were each other’s best resources.

Each teacher received a Nexus 7 Tablet, which were all donated by Google. They came loaded with about 50 educational apps including a library they can use for reference and classroom activities. This was all made possible with the generous donations of Library for All and Gumdrop Cases. These apps feature subjects that are taught in primary schools across Haiti: Language, Math, Science, Social Science, and the Arts. We gave several demonstrations on how they can use the apps with their students. This was an important part of the training because as new ICT users, the teachers needed to see the many opportunities that the Tablet offers. Tablets give an wide variety of teaching and learning activities to make lessons more interesting, and our teachers were excited to start using them right away.

To ensure ongoing technical support for the teachers, we identified two participants from the group to coach and facilitate online interaction with the group since The Inveneo team will not be able to go there every week.

Personally, I was very satisfied with this training because of three main reasons:

Ronald Benjamin shows how to use extra parts that come with the Tablet. Photo Credit: Michelet Guerrier - Inveneo

Ronald Benjamin shows how to use extra parts that come with the Tablet. Photo Credit: Michelet Guerrier – Inveneo

1. Engagement: The teachers valued the training and actively participated. We did not go there for nothing. We went there for those who need it most. The teachers were very passionate about ICT and interested in the training activities.

2. Teamwork: The teachers were wonderful to work with. They expressed their thanks and gratitude to the UM, Heart to Heart, and Inveneo teams for bringing these tools, training, and resources to the community. This was all possible because of the generous support of Google for providing Nexus 7 tablets for the teachers, the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund, and the United Methodist Church of Resurrection.

3. Impact: We seem to have brought them something useful to help make a change. The teachers want to use what they have gained from the TTT project to improve their knowledge that will better help their students. In the future we hope to hear stories about what they have accomplished with their Tablets.

Written by Michelet Guerrier, Inveneo’s Project Manager for Haiti

Inveneo Transforms Teaching Through Tablets in Rural Haiti

  1. Posted by Jana Melpolder on April 1, 2014 in the categories: Education, News, Projects
Teachers in training

Teachers in training

In March 2014 Inveneo launched a new project for primary school teachers in Haiti. The TTT (Transforming Teaching through Tablets) project is designed to improve teaching and learning in primary schools by providing teachers in rural Haiti with training and access to digital educational resources. Educators from two primary schools in the area of Petit-Goâve already received Nexus 7 tablets loaded with educational content and tools for professional development. In addition, they are participating in training on how to use the new technology tools to access information, acquire knowledge and collaborate with peers. The training and mentoring provided to teachers are intended to improve their confidence and capacity to deliver quality education in the classroom. Besides the initial on-site training, teachers will be participating in weekly online sessions via their tablets for several months where they will be learning about teaching, about classroom activities to foster 21st century learning and about ICT in the classroom.

An information session on professionnal development

An information session on professionnal development

The program was designed with the needs of Haitian primary school teachers in mind. Many teachers in rural Haiti have not received any or very little teacher training and have no access to resources like libraries or the Internet. We made sure the program would be relevant to the teachers’ needs and interests. They need technology, access to resources that support their work, training and ongoing coaching to become independent learners. The Haiti team (composed of PM Michelet Guerrier, Rico Mondesir, and Ronald Benjamin) is supported by Inveneo Education Solutions Director Sybille Fleischmann and San Francisco-based engineers. The team has been responsible for selecting schools, preparing administrators, identifying content, training development, setup of tablets and finally training delivery.

We are currently working with 21 teachers, 13 from College Harry Brakeman and eight from Ecole Methodiste de Hyacinthe, a small community located about one hour drive from the city of Petit-Goâve along a bumpy dirt road. There is no Internet connectivity in Hyacinthe available today. The teachers are willing to travel all the way to Petit-Goâve to find Internet access. Connectivity might finally reach their community later this year. The enthusiasm, motivation and interest for learning about technology and improving their teaching skills shows that these teachers are gaining an awareness of new challenges in the teaching profession and want to be ready to prepare their students with competencies for the 21st century. We see this as an important step to improving the quality of education.

Guirlène René showing how to enlarge content on the screen

Guirlène René showing how to enlarge content on the screen

The teachers were not sure how tablets could help them expand their knowledge and skills until they had the tablets in their hands and started exploring them. They were excited to learn about the tools and what they could do with them. Access to hundreds of books in French and Haitian Kreyol through Library for All, curricula of the Ministry of Education, offline apps and Internet access for research, communication, and collaboration have been described by the school director from Hyacinthe, Thony Domique, as closing the gap between city teachers and rural teachers.

In this program, we are working with preschool and fundamental education teachers. This includes Kindergarden and 1st to 6th grade. In the Haitian system, a teacher at the fundamental level teaches all subjects to a class. So what we have is a mix of teachers teaching different levels and age groups with classes of 35 to 50 students. The teachers will use their tablets to access information both offline and online, prepare lessons, create activities for the classroom, and share content with their students using a projector.

Rico demonstrating how to lauch apps

Rico demonstrating how to lauch apps

Wilson Monice, Director at College Brakeman said, “The first impact these tablets will have is on teacher and school image”. All parents want their children to have a quality education, and access to quality education passes through the training of teachers to develop new teaching and ICT competencies to enhance students’ learning. Consequently, schools with these teachers will be described as good schools and will be respected in the community.

A teacher with a tablet has access to lots of resources for professional development, references to sample lesson plans, learning activities for students, and content that will help teachers prepare the lessons. An expected outcome will be on the improvement of students’ performance.

A better education to the children in the community will contribute to making a change in the life of the community at different levels. The community should start to feel less marginalized as the people get more informed, educated and can participate in making decisions for themselves. We believe education supported by technology can help make this happen and bring hope to the community as a whole.

Progress continues in the Teacher Training classes

Progress continues in the Teacher Training classes

Working as the Project Manager has been such an honor. Being an educator myself, I have been lucky to be able to share and learn from all of these wonderful teachers’ experiences. And the surprise, so far, has been the level of commitment we have seen in these teachers who have so many years of  experience. Many of them have been in the teaching profession for more than 30 years, and they agree they need new skills to do what they like doing the most. We hope to inspire them to continue improving their teaching capacity to serve the children in these communities who need quality education most.

Thanks to our partners who made it possible to launch this ambitious program. Thanks to Google for providing Nexus 7 tablets for the teachers, and thanks to the Craig Newmark Philanthropic Fund and United Methodist Church of Resurrection for their financial support and assistance with in-country coordination.

Written by Michelet Guerrier, Project Manager for Inveneo Haiti Education