In an article discussing the iCarly television program, Shelley Pasnik of EDC’s Center for Children and Technology discusses how the program was ahead of its time in terms of how young people interact with technology.
Lesley Reilly of EDC’s EdTech Leaders Online says that using Twitter in online courses or communities provides for backchannel conversations that are great for large meetings. Also, she says, creating a hashtag makes it easy for students to participate on mobile devices.
The HP LIFE e-Learning program, developed by EDC and HP together with a team of partners, includes free, interactive online courses to help budding entrepreneurs create, establish, and grow successful businesses. The program is being widely disseminated in time for Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 12–16.
EDC was awarded a literacy innovation grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development. EDC’s innovation will be piloted in the Philippine and centers on developing low-cost mobile phone technology to improve the collection and use of student reading performance data.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today awarded EDC a literacy innovation grant as part of the international education competition All Children Reading: A Grand Challenge for Development.
Drawing on their expertise in mobile learning (m-learning), EDC staff members will present several innovative ideas at the second annual mEducation Alliance International Symposium. The conference, which will focus on using mobile technologies to improve literacy and job skills and create partnerships, will be held September 5–7 in Washington, D.C.
Why he’s leaving: Mike Laflin, 65, has retired as senior vice president at Education Development Center, where he oversaw international-development programs. He had worked for the Waltham, Mass., charity for nearly 20 years. His successor is Larry Lai.
Background: After three years as an English teacher in his native Britain, Mr. Laflin taught in Kenya under a British aid program in 1972. The Kenyan Ministry of Education later transferred him to the school’s broadcasting service to write and direct educational radio programs.
Proudest accomplishment: Building a nationwide program that provided educational instruction over the radio to students in Zambia, which has lost many teachers to HIV/AIDS and where schools are scarce in rural areas. Communities organize sites where children meet for half-hour daily broadcasts for each grade, overseen by a local volunteer. Students who receive the radio instruction perform at the same level as their peers in conventional schools on tests for fourth graders. “It showed that there were other ways to meet the demand for education than just saying schools are the answer or we need to train more teachers,” says Mr. Laflin.
Challenges for international development: Mr. Laflin worries that the trend toward data-driven grant making, while understandable, is curtailing experimentation and research. “If you are looking for evidence, you’re by definition looking to the past or the present, but not to the future.”
What’s next: Mr. Laflin plans to return to writing and theater, interests he had to put aside because of the frequent travel his job required. In the early 1980s, Mr. Laflin co-wrote two musical comedies that were staged at Washington’s Folger Theatre. One of the plays was a huge success while the other was a flop, says Mr. Laflin. “That sort of told me, ‘Well, you can’t really do this and be going to Liberia every few months,’ ” he says. “They’re just not compatible.”