We use a variety of measurements to evaluate the impact of our projects, and I particularly enjoy mining the data to contextualize them. For example, the data from our Peruvian ecourse specialization in Innovative Pedagogy shows that there is no correlation between passing grades and teachers in rural or urban schools, internet connectivity, or time spent online. What that means is that we structured our ecourse in a way that removes internet access as a barrier to success. More than one rural teacher even told us in the exit survey: “for the first time rural teachers are treated as equals to urban teachers.”
But over the last few weeks, when handing out the specialization certifications to teachers, the most moving impact data hasn’t been the specs from our database, nor the measurements gathered throughout the implementation of the project. It has been to sit and talk with the teachers who participated in the course, and hear their stories of how a specific strategy opened up a debate in the classroom; or how including a certain prompt pulled students into the lesson in a way they had never seen before. I am used to and appreciate the “thank you’s”, but with the ecourse project I’ve noticed that the gratitude is much more specific. Instead of a general “thanks for the help” it is more focused on academic outcomes in the classroom: “when I used this strategy, this happened”.
This year, in response to demand from teachers and administrators, we will continue our accredited Specialization in Innovative Pedagogy (now run by the regional educational authorities and assisted by Alma), but will also offer a second specialization in Leadership in Innovative Pedagogy in which the certified teachers can continue to implement change in their schools, communities, and educational networks with all the different stakeholders involved in the educational community (students, parents, teachers, administrators, etc.)
We are at a point in our work where Alma needs to step back and let the teachers and administrators run with and recreate the training programs we offered. Through the meetings and conversations I’ve had over the last few weeks, I am optimistic that there are plenty of educators who are eager to take on the challenge.
Alma Children’s Education Foundation