Webinar Series April: Connected Higher Education in Crisis contexts

The second Connected Higher Education in Crisis contexts series, will be taking place online on Wednesday 6th April 2022, from 14:00 to 15:00 British Summer Time. These events are held by the Open University UK in collaboration with the Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Presentations and Panel Discussion: Supporting Educators of refugees

Presentation 1: Teaching and learning with EdTech for refugee young people
Joel Mitchell (EdTech Hub, Jigsaw Consult), Rozina Zazai (Jigsaw), Katrina Barnes (Jigsaw), Amy Ashlee (REUK), Giulia Clericetti (REUK)

In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, the EdTech Hub commissioned a rapid evidence review (RER) on educational technology in refugee contexts in low- and middle-income contexts. The RER aimed to synthesise key learnings from the available literature to support and inform educational responses during COVID-19. The authors, alongside one of Jigsaw’s Research Assistants based in Pakistan, will present key findings from and evidence gaps identified by this RER. They will focus on one of the RER’s key themes: supporting educators of refugees. They will then present findings from recent research on teaching and learning for refugee girls and young women in Pakistan during COVID-19. This recent research builds on evidence gaps identified by the RER and sheds light on teachers’ and educators’ interactions with EdTech during Covid-19-related school closures in refugee contexts. 


Joel Mitchell is a Research Advisor at EdTech Hub and Jigsaw Consult. Joel has extensive experience in applied education research and evaluation, particularly in South West Asia and East Africa. He has a particular focus on education in humanitarian contexts, and the way in which technology can be effectively employed in education programmes. 

Rozina Zazai is a Research Assistant at Jigsaw. She holds a degree in Computer Science from IMSciences, Pakistan, supported by a DAFI scholarship. She also completed the one year online MIT ReACT program from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. Born and raised in Pakistan, Rozina is an Afghan refugee and has raised the voices of refugee youth during her work with Jigsaw as a Youth Researcher.

Katrina Barnes is an interdisciplinary researcher with a background in language education. She holds a MEd in Research in Second Language Education from the University of Cambridge and a MA in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Westminster. Her work includes several mixed-methods, action research studies investigating the impact of different innovative education interventions on primary- and secondary-age students.

Amy Ashlee is a Senior Research Officer at Refugee Education UK, a UK-based charity that seeks to equip young refugees to build positive futures by thriving in education. Amy is an experienced researcher specialising in child-centred research methodologies, with a focus on education, psychosocial wellbeing and forced displacement.

Giulia Clericetti is a Senior Educational Mentoring Coordinator at Refugee Education UK. She manages the charity’s educational mentoring programme for young refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford. She has focused on refugee education throughout her work and academic research.


Presentation 2: A peer ethnographic approach to investigating English language teaching in refugee settings in the age of COVID19
Tara Ross (Centreity), Miki Aristorenas (Mosaik Education), Ahmed Salim (Mosaik Education / Peer researcher), Cindy Bonfini-Hotlosz (Centreity), Ben Webster (Mosaik Education), Koula Charitonos (Open University UK)

English language learning in crisis or fragile contexts is challenged by lack of access to qualified teachers, appropriate curriculum, and resources for learning. English language teachers trained in the communicative approach, however, have had success in increasing student interest and motivation in learning and practicing English to a variety of age groups. Using a PEER methodology, English language teachers in Jordan who taught refugee students interviewed fellow teachers to understand their approaches to teaching, how they incorporate the communicative approach, their use of technology to aid instruction, and the support they receive from their schools and organizations in their teaching. The authors will share key insights from this research, especially on the impact COVID19 had on teachers’ practices, and will offer reflections on how these insights may lead to targeted technology-supported professional development opportunities in refugee contexts.


Dr Tara Ross has a background in politics, policy, and education in emergencies with an emphasis on research of vulnerable populations and their access to higher education. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Political Science from the University of Florida and Master’s degree is in International Affairs from Ohio University where she studied Latin American politics. Dr. Ross earned her PhD in Educational Leadership from Keiser University where she examined higher education for those who are refugees and has since served in higher education administration for almost 20 years as a Director of Academics, an Academic Dean, Department Chair, Dissertation Chair, Committee Member, and Continuing Education Director. She is the Chief Learning Officer for Centreity, in which she works with institutions and organizations to provide higher education in a variety of contexts and cultures using locally appropriate methods.

Miki Aristorenas manages the English Programme at Mosaik Education. She has been with Mosaik since its founding and has been working in the refugee education space since completing her Masters degree (Ed.M.) in International Education Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2016. Miki has worked in international and US education projects with nonprofits and edtech start-ups across the states, the Philippines, with the Swedish Ministry of Education and with English language learning centres. 

Ahmed Osman is an English Language teacher with Mosaik Education and a peer-researcher in the PEER project in Jordan, led by the Open University, Mosaik Education and Centreity. Ahmed is someone who always wants to contribute to the educational field and give back what he has learned. He feels that it is his  responsibility to share his knowledge and experiences with others and especially to the refugee community in Jordan where he currently lives.