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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.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Social Innovation and Venture Creation in Haiti: Next Steps for Laurier

I was recently appointed as an inaugural Social Innovation and Venture Creation (SIVC) Fellow at Laurier. This appointment is largely due to the capacity-building work I have been doing in Haiti. It has also caused me to question: What are next steps in social innovation and venture creation for the work we want to do in Haiti?

1. Summer Teaching and Leadership Institute and Summer Camps
A traditional way to deliver workshops for teachers and principals is through face-to-face workshops that focus on teaching methods and content areas. We anticipate that the summer institute will begin in July, 2016. The innovative part of the institute will be the teaching methodology (Haitian and Canadian instructors, co-teaching) and having camps for young people associated with the summer institute. The camps will provide an opportunity for teachers to implement some of the ideas they have learned in the workshops. A small fee for Haitian participants in both the institute and camp will support sustainability of the project and venture creation. Canadian participants will pay a small "social venture fee" which will serve as a fund to support social entrepreneurship of Haitian participants.

2. On-line Learning Supports
The Digital Mentoring Project was certainly innovative (you can read more in earlier blog posts). I would like to build on the opportunity that on-line learning provides by developing resources and learning modules that teachers, principals, and students can access to supplement face-to-face learning. I anticipate that an on-line professional learning community could be available to anyone (open access) with some resources being available for a minimal fee (social venture).

3. STEM, Female Teachers and Students
We have noted that there are very few female secondary school teachers in Haiti. There are even fewer female teachers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) areas. As a result, it is not surprising that very female students consider post-secondary education and careers in these areas. We are implementing an innovative robotics program this fall in an all-girls school, with female coaches, to examine how girls can be encouraged to consider STEM fields. The social venture aspect of this project will evolve but will focus on supporting girls in creating and/or participating in STEM-related projects.

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