• Madagascar In My Heart: A Teacher Learns From Her Students


    Madagascar in My Heart
    We’re always thrilled to feature educators who are using technology in their classroom in innovative ways to help improve education. Today we’re sharing Deb Sewell’s story, which was featured last week in Edtech Digest, about her experience in bringing technology to a class of impoverished students from a small village in Madagascar — and the lessons she learned along the way.

    Here’s a snippet from the Edtech Digest article:

    “Deb Sewell is an educator who is used to having access to technology at her fingertips.  A middle school and high school English teacher at Appleby College in Ontario, Canada, Deb is grateful for the opportunity she has to teach at an independent school with an incredible technology facility, which allows students to have one-to-one access to laptops. Deb has also incorporated other educational technology tools in her classroom, including the Livescribe smartpen.  She has her students use the smartpen’s note-taking and audio capturing capabilities for cross-examination during debates, so students can better hone their skills. Amazed at young people’s capacity to absorb new information and technology, Deb’s teaching philosophy is that she needs to be just as willing to learn from her students as they are to learn from her.

    When Deb won Appleby’s Teaching Excellence Award last year, she decided to use the prize money  to go to Toliara, Madagascar for a few weeks to teach technology to K-12 African children with the Madagascar in My Heart program, and wound up learning from her students in ways she’d never imagined.  She and Lisa Gustinelli, a teacher who had already travelled to Madagascar the previous year with the I Want to Learn English program, left in late July armed with laptops and Livescribe smartpens, prepared to expose the students to new technology. Deb and Lisa communicated with their students through a translator who spoke the students’ native language of Malagasy.

    ‘I left for the airport both nervous and excited anticipating the unknown challenges ahead,’ said Deb. Upon arriving in Toliara, Deb found the village to be even more impoverished than she anticipated, and the children’s access to education and technology far more limited than she had imagined.”

    Read the rest of Deb’s interview with Edtech Digest here.

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