Francis comes from a remote island of the Philippines called Luzon, and was inspired to become a teacher by the fact that his own public school teachers had been inspirational for him. Despite not attending an expensive private school, Francis was able to work hard in his youth and win academic competitions. Originally he intended to attend law school, but in the end found himself motivated to try and help young people as he himself had been helped. Teaching today, Francis understands that amongst other things this means integrating and using technology in order to deepen learning. After his first year of using iPads and other tools, 94% of his students said that it had helped their learning.
Francis has led various studies examining the efficacy of iPad learning. His students have demonstrated their improvements in an even more obvious way by becoming published authors, having written about their encounter with students from the National School for the Blind and published it in the iBooks store. One student became a finalist in the 2016 iBooks author conference. Francis himself was awarded the Pineau-Clifford Educator’s Award for Outstanding Faculty at his school, and in 2015 he was additionally made an Apple Distinguished Educator. In 2016, his book on Religious Education classes was a finalist at the US iBooks author conference for best educational book.
With the prize funds, Francis would like to collaborate with the Department of Education to create a well-structured professional development plan for teachers. This would centre initially on his home school and incorporate a campaign to get pupils to code.