5 Mistakes we make (I made) with #Edtech

 We tend to celebrate and focus on our success stories on blogs and especially on social media–as we should, but sometimes a reminder of our challenges and mistakes is just as valuable.

There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.

This post was inspired by Carol Dweck’s TED Talk:

As we know technology can be a  powerful tool in our classrooms but it can also be intimidating. Since effective #edtech implementation often involves a paradigm shift in our pedagogical approach, it can seem daunting and scary, but also fun and empowering.

I would describe myself as an eager early adopter tech geek; I love playing with #edtech and constantly put myself into situations where I don’t know how it might turn out. It means that I make mistakes, fail, and learn a great deal about myself and how I deal with pressure and stress.

Here are five mistakes I made with educational technology.

Digital Natives

Do you think kids know more about tech than you do? Some do, but most don’t, and what they don’t know is how to learn with it. Students are excellent consumers of digital technologies, however, #edtech has all the potential to turn their consummation into content creation. The one advantage that students have over adults in this matter is that they usually aren’t timid of the devices, it is our job to utilize that skill to bring on the other skills.

Time Allocation

I am always over-optimistic, therefore I over plan and cram too much content or too many tasks into one session, this is partly a result of my first mistake. Now

As a result, I have created myself a rudimentary planning guide to help myself to plan more effectively and realistically; I call it the Sandbox-model. If I am introducing  a new app or using an app in a new way, my session will follow this cycle:

1/3 free play
1/3 guided tasks
1/3 open tasks

Tech as a substitute only

This is a tricky one. As much as I like using gadgets, devices, and apps I should also remember that there is a bigger picture, is my tech use going to improve learning? Should I use ebook textbooks or not?


My first rabbit hole was the iPad Padagogy wheel. What I didn’t realize that most apps geared towards education are made/built by people with a very narrow understanding of learning. IMHO most useful apps for education are the ones that actually are meant for professionals to actually do things, not to entertain us.

The problem with this type of presentation that teachers will too easily just pluck apps and start planning with tech/app in mind instead of learning.


My greatest mistake has been and still probably is that I seem to make my own use of #edtech too easy and instead of letting my colleagues find out on their own I will “help out” by doing things for them. I know that it is not a sustainable model, therefore I have found a new way to advocate and support #edtech usage: I don't know
Instead of being the sage on the stage I’ll try to encourage everyone to be a risk taker and have fun whilst learning new skills!

Posted in Curriculum, Growth Mindset, HOW-TO, Knowledge, Pedagogy, Teaching, Technology | Comments Off on 5 Mistakes we make (I made) with #Edtech

Parent Workshop

Thank you for joining our workshop, here are some of the resources and a summary of conversation


We started together with a nice conversation and brainstormed What is Inquiry to us, as parents here in KIS:

Made with Padlet


PYP Essential Elements


The five essential elements of the PYP frame, mold, and define the Inquiry that our students

How can we support our students?

A common sense tool for us to use to collaborate is, of course, the IB learner profile. The ten attributes although equally important can serve us as a framework to understand our common goals.

As we explored these attributes we were able to make the connections with the IB written curriculum and especially the embedded Attitudes.

Thank you for joining us.

Posted in Curriculum, Inspiration, Knowledge, Spirit | Comments Off on Parent Workshop

Learning By Doing – Importance of Arts, Craft, and Design

As a learning activity, arts, crafts, and design have traditionally been passed over in favor of more academic pursuits. However, it has been proven time after time that craft – particularly developmentally appropriate craft activities that stimulate fine motor skills on their ZPD– can aid learning in those core academic disciplines like language, social studies, science, and math. In addition to this research proven aspect, we should also remember that crafts, especially artisan skills, have been around since the beginning of time when people made everything they used with their hands. Crafts were initially created for trading, selling, spiritual or artistic expression, as well as creating personal and household articles.
In today’s developed world, crafts are a great pastime and educational tool for kids. It’s not only to keep the kids entertained on a rainy day, but also extend a child’s gross and fine motor skills, develop concepts like color or numbers and see scientific processes like gluing and paint drying in action. Understanding the importance of experimental and experience-based learning is very important in an IB world school environment because the PYP curriculum framework is based on teaching conceptual understanding. Thus we as facilitators need to understand the validity of authentic learning experiences and provocations that allow our students to

We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.1 – John Dewey

Reflection, as one of the key concepts2, plays an integral part of PYP curriculum when we plan for learning engagements to instigate critical thinking skills, computational thinking, and logical empirical reasoning. As constructivist educators, we need to understand how these concrete and authentic experiences into generalizations and understandings.

Lewinian Experiential Learning model according to Kolb

Lewinian Experiential Learning model according to Kolb3

David Kolb’s Experiential Learning model is an accurate representation of how PYP curriculum framework understands that we learn for instance mathematics.

Making the PYP Happen 4

Unfortunately, these both models overlook what happens prior and during the experience, that is why we need to highlight what the learners are constructing and transferring.

Dewey speaks about experimental thought and activity3

The fine distinction here is that students require these experiences to be able to make connections with their prior knowledge. This reflective process enables the learner to make retrievable memory imprints of what is being learned. This is why inquiry-based learning is so efficient and permanent.

Visual arts, music, crafts and design allow kids to explore ideas or concepts and then express it by making something to keep, entertain others with or simply their own aesthetic pleasure. This playfulness is an inseparable component of How We Express Ourselves Transdisciplinary Theme of the PYP.4 As we explore our understanding of the aesthetic we are also enabling these students to develop their higher order of thinking skills.

“The arts especially address the idea of aesthetic experience. An aesthetic experience is one in which your senses are operating at their peak; when you’re present in the current moment; when you’re resonating with the excitement of this thing that you’re experiencing; when you are fully alive.”  – Sir Ken Robinson

Tamas Varga, Hungarian mathematician, and a reformist, based his New Math pedagogy in Hungary on this same principle. The central position of the Varga-Neményi method is the personal and direct experience of children. It is not enough for students to hear or read what someone else has once experienced, they need to have that first-hand experience themselves. If the pre-school personal experience is missing, it needs to be made up for in the school setting through play and art. 5 In today’s technology-assisted learning environments it is important to remember that artistic exemplars are easily accessable.

“In spite of the obvious correlation between math and art, people often view art and math as two very different, distinct areas of study.  Today, through computer-generated art, origami, tessellations, fractals, and illusions, math-inspired art continues yet often goes unnoticed. By integrating art and math on the classroom level, it will become plainly evident that participation in combined art and math courses can increase both one’s math skills and one’s art skills.” 6

 A broad and balanced curriculum is one that provides children with the skills, knowledge, and understanding they need to develop into well-rounded global citizens is the one that is infused with the appreciation of the aesthetic experiences that makes us human.

Posted in Curriculum, Growth Mindset, Knowledge, Pedagogy, Teaching | Comments Off on Learning By Doing – Importance of Arts, Craft, and Design

Welcome to Seesaw KIS Parents

I am very excited to share that our KG – G5 classes will be using an amazing app called Seesaw in which students can build online digital portfolios to share their learning in a safe and engaging way. Each child has their own journal where they can document their learning. Families are able to connect to their child’s journal at home to view the work they are doing.

Benefits of Seesaw:

  • Students take ownership of their learning, they have a choice to show what they know through pictures, video, voice recording, text, etc.
  • Provides an authentic audience for our students – they can share their “WOW work” with classmates, teachers, and their family.
  • Includes families in the learning process by providing easy to access, immediate updates, built-in translation tools, and an opportunity to comment on their child’s school work.
  • Safe online platform for students to share their work – the classroom teacher approves all student posts before they are shared, and families can only see work posted in their child’s journal.
  • Helps capture the learning process, encourages students to reflect on their understanding, and helps develop transdisciplinary and digital citizenship skills.

Please follow the instructions in your email or access the app through https://web.seesaw.me/parents/.

Posted in General News, Inspiration, Knowledge, Spirit | Comments Off on Welcome to Seesaw KIS Parents