Fri, 01/11/2013 - 10:13

Excerpt from correspondence to 2Learn

The report (43 MB; 66 pages) can be downloaded from here:

On behalf of the Rotary International District 5370 Belize Literacy Program, I wish to express my sincere appreciation for allowing Pete to lead workshops in Belize.  The report summarizes so well and is evidence of the high calibre of leadership, support and facilitation provided by Pete, Sandra and team.  There is no question that these experiences benefit greatly those who travel.  In addition to the 140 teacher leaders in Belize, the team from Alberta has learned so much more about 2learn.

Thank you so much for partnering in this exciting International Development project   The workshops touched many lives and will make a difference to the teachers in Belize who have a vision and see possibilities for integrating the amazing resources and strategies shared during the workshops.

Jackie Hobal
District Governor. 2010-2011
780 910-0527
Sent from my iPad

On 2013-01-09, at 10:41 AM, MacKay Pete

Catherine and John,

Please find below a link to the final report submitted to Jackie Hobal, District Governor 2010-2011, Rotary International District 5370, on January 1, 2013, summarizing The Belize Literacy Project efforts of November 10-18, 2012.  I would like to take this opportunity to not only share this report with the Board but also to express my deepest gratitude for supporting the invitation made to me by the Rotary District 5370 and Belize Rotary Clubs.  The opportunity came out of nowhere and I was not sure exactly what the week would entail.  However, I am pleased to report that played an important role in the six two-day workshops that were offered to 158 people.  The document is interactive and meant to be viewed as an on-screen pdf.  Please enjoy the photo galleries and video clips we've included. Allow me to share a few highlights:
The team consisted of six members, most of whom are experienced educators, led by Sandra Gluth, Education Manager, Alberta Education — her 8th trip to Belize.  
The six members split into pairs and moved around the country to present two-day workshops.  
Sandra and I worked in Belize City and San Ignacio.  Bonnie-Lynn David and Alvina Tsui worked in Corozal and Orange Walk.  Two brothers, John and Derrick Toporowski, worked in Dangriga and Punta Gorda.  
The workshop participants were Belize Ministry of Education personnel, school and district administrators, and of course, classroom teachers.  It should be noted that we were quite successful in having these groups work together; merging these groups is something that is not often done in Belize.
One of the main objectives was to examine, discuss and emphasize the importance of leadership and vision in implementing technology into the school system.  Keeping in mind that the ultimate goal is to support student learning, we facilitated conversation around developing a common vision and plan for technology.  It is hoped that the group will continue this discussion until a viable plan emerges.
The website played prominently in our sharing of relevant resources because they are vetted, reviewed and categorized.  The fact that our work is provided at no cost to teachers was of great value to Belizean educators.  Names and emails of the group were collected and submitted to to be signed up for the Vantage newsletter.  Several of the better-connected teachers indicated interest in attending webinars and I have heard from some already.
As the data we gathered was compiled, the team came up with three basic recommendations for the Ministry of Education:
With educational stakeholders (teachers, principals, students, parents, community businesses, government, colleges and universities) develop a five-year vision for technology access and integration in Belize schools.
Determine Internet needs of schools and solutions
Consider future follow-up leadership workshops for Ministry of Education, principals, and lead teachers

I am excited to see the potential in Belize as they begin to realize that in building this new era, they can learn from Alberta's technological story, potentially avoiding expensive solutions that are not optimal.  For example, I see that they may move from initial planning stages to more modern initiatives such as harnessing the power of personally owned devices rather than building overheated, expensive computer labs that are difficult to maintain.

While there are challenges in areas we would take for granted such as the availability of electricity, air conditioning and adequate access to the Internet, exciting times are coming to Belizean education and I am proud to have helped be able to play a role in the planning. 

In closing I feel that it is most important again, to express my sincerest thanks for supporting this project.  Professionally, I benefitted greatly by having to work in a pre-SuperNet environment; to recall how things were for us in the 90's as educators and to realize how well-off we are in Alberta.  Personally, I most appreciated having my teaching and social perspective broadened, to make the sincerest of connections with educators who truly need resources, ideas, guidance and most importantly, discussion, as they begin a thrilling era of education in their country. In addition, I feel that The Education Society gained a whole new avenue of supporters and thankful teachers who will add to our ever-expanding reach in global education.

Thank you all again for your generous support.  The report (43 MB; 66 pages) can be downloaded from here:

Kind Regards,

Pete MacKay
Provincial Team Teacher
The Education Society

 Room 210, 15120 - 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB      T5P 0R5
780.486.0380 (office)