Session Submission Summary

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In/Text Conversation: Transnational Teacher Training in Refugee Camps and Mobile Phones

Tue, March 27, 8:00 to 9:30am, Hilton Reforma, Floor: 2nd Floor, Don Diego 3

Group Submission Type: Panel Session


The proliferation of mobile phones in developing countries has created a landscape of new possibilities for connecting people and for accessing information and education (Ally & Samaka, 2013). In global development contexts, mobile phones are being used to support formal and informal education including literacy and numeracy, for assessment, and for communication (Wagner, 2014). In refugee settings, teacher training and professional development are fundamental to delivery of quality education (Dryden-Peterson, 2011; INEE, 2010; UNHCR, 2012). Mobile phones are used in these contexts to provide access to higher education, to trained teacher networks, and for ongoing professional development and support for teachers of refugees in camps. This includes the use of SMS, instant messaging chat groups like WhatsApp, and social networking sites like Facebook Messenger (see Dahya, 2016; Dahya & Dryden-Peterson, 2017; Dryden-Peterson, Dahya & Adelman, 2017; Mendenhall, 2017).

This panel will be structured as a discussion among researchers and educators who are studying and using text messaging on mobile phones as part of teacher training for refugee teachers in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps, Kenya. The project teams and programs involve transnational partnerships comprised of Faculty, researchers, students, and practitioners. Participants include team members from Dadaab and Kakuma, Faculty and students from Kenyan, Canadian, and American universities. The transnational make up of these projects - in their work and communication with community members in camps, and in their project team members - invites critical conversation about north-south partnerships and dichotomies, as well as about global in/equalities in knowledge production and exchange. The quality and configuration of networks creating, communicating, and delivering education transnationally using mobile phones will be the focus of this panel discussion.

The panel will address the role of mobile phones for teacher training in refugee camps and explore questions related to the parameters of this tool in the Kenyan context. What does teacher professional development look like when mediated by text messaging on mobile phones? Where does teacher training begin and end when information and communication tools like text messaging are part of curricular design? Who are the actors supporting and engaging in teacher training using mobile communication tools? How does the use of text messaging and group chats impact educational culture(s) in camp settings, including gender equity?

One or two members of each project team will sit on the panel. Each project will be given 5 minutes to present an overview of their work (20 -30 minutes total) guided by three questions: What is the focus or purpose of your project or project goals? What is the role of text messaging in your research or program? What are the key successes and challenges you identify as related to using text messaging for teacher training in refugee camps? These opening presentations will be followed by a short commentary from the discussant (5 minutes) and discussant questions for the panel (30 minutes). The panel will then open to the audience for further Q&A (30 minutes) as well as for input from other researchers and practitioners regarding their experiences using mobiles and text messaging for teacher training.

Ally, M & Samaka, M. (2013). Open Education Resources and Mobile Technology to Narrow the Learning Divide. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 14 (2): 14–27.

Dahya, N. (2016). Education in Conflict and Crisis: How Can Technology Make a Difference. A Landscape Review. Published by GIZ, Germany. Available online at

Dahya, N. & Dryden-Peterson, S. (2017). Tracing pathways to higher education for refugees: the role of virtual support networks and mobile phones for women in refugee camps. Comparative Education, 53(2), 284-301. Published online December 1, 2016.

Dryden-Peterson, S. (2011). Refugee education: a global review. Geneva: UNHCR. Retrieved online from

Dryden-Peterson, S., Dahya, N. and Adelman, E. (2017). Pathways to educational success among refugees: Connecting locally and globally-situated resources. American Educational Research Journal.

INEE (2010). INEE Minimum Standards Hand- book. Available at: standards/handbook

Mendhenhall, M. (April 9, 2017). Teachers in crisis contexts working group: strengthening teacher professional development through collaboration. Promising Practices in Refugee Education blog post available online

UNHCR. (2012). Education Strategy 2012-2016. Geneva: UNHCR.

Wagner, D. (2014). Mobiles for reading: a landscape research review. Report prepared for USAID and mEducation Alliance. Retrieved online from sites/ les/publications/wagner_mobiles4read- ing_usaid_june_14.pdf

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