From Substitution to Redefinition


Digitalization has been a buzzword for an awhile now in education, so much in fact that it already is having a negative connotation as well. To me, it has always been rather empty, and I haven’t seen it to have any real value as a standalone norm. But as we applied as a part of a pedagogical framework like SAMR and TPACK, things and opinions change.  In our context, it means that we need to take a good look at our learning environment in order to manage the inevitable change; integration and implementation of digital tools (physical and non-physical) into our everyday learning.


This year we have started to utilize four separate, but essentially intertwined digital products that will have an impact on how we see, visualize and understand learning.

We already know that in order to integrate these tools into our practice we need to understand how we can implement them in our learning environments that they either Modify or Redefine our teachingSAMR-model


These tools are Seesaw, Google Classroom, Google Sites and Skype Classroom.

Seesaw is a digital portfolio platform:

Seesaw empowers students to independently document their learning with built-in creative tools, and provides an authentic audience for their work.

At KIS this tool is used to Redefining learning experiences that were not possible before. Students are able to collect, curate, communicate and create a hybrid portfolio that not only showcases their understandings but empowers them to think about their thinking regardless of their age and literacy skills.

Google Classroom

Google Classroom streamlines assignments, boosts collaboration, and fosters seamless communication to make teaching more productive and meaningful.

At KIS this tool is used to Modifying learning experiences by redesigning tasks into completely new. Students are able to utilize their knowledge and individuality in the virtual environment that allows for discreet differentiation, centralized communications, and instantaneous feedback. (as a bonus: as it is paperless, it also saves trees).

Google Sites

Collaboratively create engaging, high-quality sites for your team, project or event. The sites look great on every screen, from desktop to smartphone. All without learning design or programming.

At KIS this tool is used to Redefining learning experiences that were not possible before. Teachers are able to not only share information but also embed completely independent platforms whilst connecting with a global audience. Our classes are currently contacting their global read aloud partners by using their Google Sites with Padlets

Global Read Aloud website for G3

Global Read Aloud website for G3

Skype Classroom

The global guessing game that gets kids learning about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live all over the world.

At KIS this tool is used to Redefining learning experiences that were not possible before. Students are able to connect with Authors, Explorers and other Students all around the world and communicate with them directly by asking new, personal questions, questions that are meaningful to them.


What makes these platforms and applications so powerful that they would be the ones that empower our students and makes them improve their learning more than others? In my opinion, it is their flexibility, adaptability, and accessibility. All these products adjust to users needs, enhancing and simplifying the user experience, thus enabling all users to connect and utilize them to their full potential. All these applications can also be hacked to be used creatively to cater a special, personal requirement. These aspects enable and generate a learning environment where student centered learning thrives.

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Provocations are an Invitation to Learning

Nature doesn’t need people.

People need nature.

Continue reading

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Making Global Connections

Global Read Aloud

During October KIS students have already been and will be making connections all around the globe. Our Upper-Grade School: G3 – 5 are reading The Wild Robot,

our G2 is reading Fenway and Hattie and our younger readers are listening to Mem Fox’s wonderful stories as part of the  Global Read Aloud.

Global Read Aloud books

Global Read Aloud books

Mystery Skype

Our G4 and KG are taking part in skyping with schools around the world in a friendly guessing competition. It is a global guessing game that gets kids learning about geography, culture, and the similarities and differences of how children live in other parts of the world. Mystery Skype

Unit Connections

Our G2 is connecting with a school in Finland over their first unit of inquiry.

These connections are a wonderful example how our students are already connected with the global community of learners.


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ePortfolio; Reflections and Suggestions

IMG_20170504_123133Assessment in the PYP is guided by a variety of publications. The most important of course are MTPYPH, Standards and Practices, and Assessment in the PYP.  Support of the rationale to use portfolios as part of the Reporting and Assessed curriculum can be found in all of these documents eg.:

Schools have a responsibility to show evidence of student learning. As an example, portfolios are one method of collecting and storing information that can be used to document and assess student progress and achievement 1

At its best, a portfolio can be a powerful tool that enhances, learning,  reflection, and understanding. Nevertheless, I have always felt that this way of documenting and learning about myself as a learner always favors a certain type of learners. Students who are not fluid in their handwriting tend to use much of their energy to just produce their writing, limiting them from sharing their understandings and the depth of their knowledge. 2

In recent years educators have been trying to overcome this predicament in various ways, we have made outstanding art portfolios, we have tried Teacher and Student selected portfolios, with various success stories, however, none of these have produced a sustainable model that would empower our students. We strive to create a learning environment where every student has a unique voice, that they are co-creating the choices they make thus having a genuine ownership of their learning.

Finally after years of promise #edtech is enabling us with a variety of solutions, the third generation of ePortfolios are truly transforming the way we think about a portfolio. An ePortfolio (electronic portfolio) is an electronic collection of evidence that shows your learning journey over time. Portfolios usually relate to specific time of your lifelong learning

Advocates of ePortfolios claim they are the biggest
software evolution in education since the creation of
learning management systems. According to Love, McKean
and Gathercoal (2004), ePortfolios may have the most
significant effect on education since the introduction of
formal schooling. But, as with any software, numerous
aspects need to be considered for a successful

This generation of software is transforming education because they are platform and vendor independent, allowing users to interact with them in a manner that is usable to them. So we have moved from solutions that require users to adapt to the technology to #edtech that adapts to users and that is the reason why it will change everything.

Not only are we now able to use of touch-enabled devices with voice recording, picture taking, video recording, annotation, typing, and drawing already built-in but we can also seamlessly interact with purposeful software. This negates teachers from planning for the portfolio, allowing us to have authentic learning tasks that are then reflected on. The possibilities for every student to build a true process portfolio are limited only by our imagination and access to devices.


Having access to devices and creating a natural flow for students to access these devices to create their portfolios is never a cookie cutter case. There isn’t a one-sized solution that would work for all the learners, classes or schools. However, there are some solutions that can be recommended;

shared devices

  • make sure that all children have access to portfolio center or designate a device per center
  • plan for time to allow students to reflect, what are the other students doing whilst not using the device
  • make sure your students can log their usage of devices easily so that you can check who still needs a turn

1 to 1 programmes

  • Create a natural flow into your lessons that allow for individual reflections, journaling/video-recording.
  • Create calm spaces where students can choose to work collaboratively or individually

But most importantly

Give feedback and be present on the digital platform, teachers role as a model digital citizen is imperative to facilitate our youths towards best practices. 

Making the PYP Happen: A Curriculum Framework for International Primary Education. Vol 1. 2nd ed. Geneva: International Baccalaureate; 2009. Accessed September 25, 2017. [Source]
Creative writing on computers, grade 1-4. Playful learning in grade 2. Arne Trageton. Published 1999. Accessed September 27, 2017.
D2L ePortfolio Learner Guide • D2L Brightspace Training. D2L Brightspace Training. Published March 17, 2017. Accessed September 26, 2017.
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