New Beginnings

Some of you may have known that I have moved schools this year and have just started my job as the Elementary School IT Coach at Sinarmas World Academy. It is located in West Jakarta, Indonesia. It is a relatively new school (4 years old) and an absolutely beautiful campus. There is lots going on technology-wise as we are a 1:1 school from Grades 4-12 and then shared laptops for Grades 1-3. We have over 70 ipads in addition to that. The school is warm, has a community feel and a strong vision. One of the things I enjoy about the school is the fact that there is a strong blogging culture and all students, teachers and administrators have blogs which creates a learning community.




Why International Schools Should Remember Maslow

I’ve been working at internationals schools for over 10 years now and each one has been an incredibly rewarding but each one a very unique experience. I am about to shift schools again and will be working at an international school in Jakarta. As I enter the last 7 weeks, you start to go through that transition period between past and future. I really want to do a good job and have a lasting impact at my current school but part of my brain wanders to the future. It’s inevitable and human nature.

I think that I am a pretty adaptable person and embrace change easily (that’s part of the draw to international schools). But I know that with change comes the grieving process as one desperately tries to get over feelings of loss and embrace the new. I am also busy finishing up graduate courses online and one is a leadership course on change in international schools.

One of our questions was to think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (see figure below)We needed to think about all humans have these essential needs and you can’t really move up a level until your basic needs are fulfilled which makes sense. Think about a classroom and your students and how you can’t really move forward with learning and the curriculum until students feel safe and a sense of belonging.  That’s why so much emphasis is placed on learning routines (safety and physiological needs) and building community within the classroom (belonging needs).

Moving to a new country and working at a new school forces everyone to seek out all these needs. You need to find a new home, car, friends and learn the culture before you can even think about the school. I believe administrators need to really consider their faculty and where they are at any given point in the school year. Obviously, the goal is to have all teachers at the top at self-actualization where people feel a genuine sense of purpose, intrinsic rewards and contributing to the community.  During the 1-2 weeks of new teacher orientation, it is critical that administrators help teachers attain their basic and safety needs BEFORE even trying to talk to them about the curriculum.  The other challenging is building community and helping new teachers integrate into the new community and feel a sense of belonging. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen at one of the schools I worked at and resulted in new teachers being extremely stressed, frantic and behind the 8 ball from day 1. International schools need so spend that time supporting teachers in finding housing, setting up utilities, finding nannies, places to shop and eat, etc.

I’m very fortunate in that my new school has already started this process and have been extremely supportive. This only means that we can quickly transition and reach Maslow’s highest level-self actualization.

Have a story to share about transitioning into a new international school or place? Would love to hear your comments!







Future of the Internet (and how it will relates to education)

I recently listened to a podcast from Stuff You Should Know titled, The Future of the Internet and it got me thinking. They mention some of the predictions of the internet such as, it will be faster, more “walled gardens” such as iTunes, and possibly moving away from net neutrality. However, many of these predictions were not very bold.

Here are some of my bold predictions for the Internet in the next 10 years in relation to education:

1. More Smart devices- There is already been a huge interest in smartphones and to some extent smart devices like GPS devices built into cars but I believe that many ordinary equipment will be connected to the internet to give users access to real-time information. I predict that many of these devices will be built into classrooms. We already have SMART boards but imagine devices built into classrooms that record speech and cameras that record movement. Teachers will have access to this information either in real-time or to look at after to make decisions on assessment and teaching strategies. There is already devices that have hit the market such as the 360 degree camera from Teachscape.  All of these devices in the classroom will be wired to give users specific information in the future.


2. No more computers!- Yes, that’s right, no more computers. Computers as we know it, will be phased out and replaced by tables and mobile devices (ipad and ipod touch). They all ready  becoming less useful. Many schools are adopting tables at a 1:1 environment making the need for an actual computer, less likely. Keyboards will be phased out and replaced with speech recognition software. There are many apps that do this such as Dragon Dictation that will make the need for actual typing, obsolete.


3. More educational “Walled Gardens”- Walled gardens are privatized places such as iTunes or xBox Live that are making huge cash. Companies love it as they can control the environment and lure people in much like stores lure you in. I predict that there will be an explosion of educational walled gardens once companies figure out how to take advantage of educational apps. This might be good news for educators as there will only be an influx of great educational software that will be able to be downloaded to mobile devices, however, it could quickly become expensive.
What are your predictions for the internet and education? Post here!