Back in the early 1990's I was involved in a project which we ended up calling the Classroom, Inc. project. It was a joint venture between Teachers College, Columbia University (where I was a doctoral student); Morgan Stanley, the Mariposa Foundation led by Morgan Stanley's COO Lewis Bernard, and the New York City Public Schools. The project was designed to help at-risk kids in Brooklyn learn about business and to empower them to think like business leaders. It was a great project and has blossomed into a full not-for-profit organization that continues to do great work—taking it way beyond what we were able to do.

I was the project leader on the learning-development simulation-development side of the project. We built two computer-based simulations and accompanying learning materials. The programming wizard and educational technology guru on the project was Hilary Wilder, who played many other roles as well. It has been a pleasure to see her career unfold over the years since then.

Recently Hilary won a Fulbright scholarship to do educational technology work in Namibia, where she has been involved for years.

WP Perspective, a publication of William Paterson University, where Dr. Wilder is an Associate Professor, published the following article about Hilary's Fulbright. I couldn't be more proud. Congratulations Hilary!!

Hilary Wilder, associate professor in the educational leadership
and professional studies department, has been named a Fulbright Scholar for the
spring 2010 semester. She will be lecturing and conducting research at the
University of Namibia (UNAM). The university, with an enrollment of 10,000 students,
is the sparsely populated, African country’s only comprehensive four-year
institution of higher education.

Wilder will also be establishing Namibia’s first and only
master’s program in educational technology, her area of expertise.

“The people of Namibia are very open to new ideas,” Wilder
says. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to develop an educational
technology master’s degree program, in a country which so desperately needs it.
I’m hoping this program will help create a solid cadre of local expertise in educational
technology.”

Her work dovetails with a national development plan established
by the Namibian government called Vision 2030, which calls for a shift to a
knowledge-based economy by 2030. “Before independence in 1990, Namibia’s
education system was based on apartheid practices and the majority of its children
were taught through low-level rote-learning, often in rural bush schools with
no resources. Today they are eager to move forward and ensure that their
children will be successful and productive twenty-first century global
citizens. The government, private sector, non-governmental organizations and
international organizations such as the World Bank are all committed to making
this happen“ she says.

Wilder will be working with teachers who will go on to become
educational technology experts in their schools— helping their peers integrate
technology literacy into the curriculum and their teaching. “There will be a
trickle-down effect,” Wilder says. “My students will learn the technology
integration skills, and take that back to their fellow teachers. The idea is
that by 2030 the students who are then taught by those teachers will have acquired
the technological literacy skills necessary to be a part of the knowledge-based
economy.”

  
WP Perspectives, Vol.7 No. 1 April 2009, p. 7

One of the things that sets Hilary apart is that she is able to bring together a background in learning and educational theory and research (as a graduate of both Teachers College Columbia AND Harvard schools of education) WHILE at the same time bringing practical wisdom to her work (with her real-world experience as programmer, instructional designer, and educational technology specialist). The ability to bridge the theory/research side and the practice side is fundamental to making on-the-ground improvement in the learning field. We can all aspire to follow Hilary's path.