Category Archives: Education

IB Heads conference

The third really cool thing happened today at St George’s college. There was an IB heads conference which I helped kick off via ‘The Sound of Music’ backdrop and so I got a peek at what goes on behind the curtain. I was markedly impressed. Never one to favour conferences relating to education or technology I expected a boorish collective of ego driven maniacs all trying to outdo each other with one-upmanship and very little of actual modern pedagogy to be explored. Shows how little I know to be so utterly incorrect.

I’ll have to admit that the tablets and iPads being used did look fresh out of their packaging and were being toyed with timidly by their users – but – they were being used with relishing gusto and paired with the speakers they have it might seem that technology will be filtering into the classroom via the top as well as at the grassroots level. It’s not cutting edge dynamic speakers they’ve got who’ll intimidate conventions such as Guillermo Rauch of Learnboost or Luis von Ahn but sober, level headed people with a strong command of education and management – exactly what heads need to empathise with.

I still think that children will lead the way with which technologies we’ll implement in education but seeing just short of 400 heads of school at the IB level eager to utilise  modern tools means that teachers will forced to become more literate with technology as a rule and I see that as a win-win for everyone. Now if only the IB could have its facilitators know how to use the wikis they use for their online learning programs and provide explanatory videos outlining what’s expected of those on its CPD programs we’d have a level playing field for teachers to compete on.

One thing I did note and felt rather bad about though was that I didn’t see any black or Asian people at the conference.  Women were well represented and so the hegemonic elite of yore is no more, but it was overly Caucasian for me to think that it was truly International. Perhaps the very long flight to Argentina put some people off, the furthest East I heard of was from Kuwait and that took him 50 hours, the furthest West was Hawaii and that took them 39 hours. No mean feat visiting Buenos Aires.

Bumped into the travelling school

Really cool thing happened at Founder’s day. Really cool thing. Prior to taking the job at St George’s Effie was considering a position with THINKglobal school as it seems about as cutting edge, international and idealistic as can be found in today’s world. The relative newness and fact that it would mean going back to Thailand so soon put her off applying but the concept of the school has always appealed to her. Well, guess who we met at Founder’s day? Only Joanne McPike the founder of THINKglobal and Alun Cooper the head of school for her. Chin-wagging with them was great.  Apparently getting visas for Argentina was even more difficult that it was for Thailand. They’re off to Boston for the next term of their year and they really believe in the concept of global citizenship and engaging with as many cultures as possible for their students.

It will be interesting seeing how their students progress with their travelling troupe of teachers in tow. Whilst the immersion required to dedicate yourself to their program is admirable, conducting regular science experiments must be problematic. Between Thailand and Argentina Effie’s found all sorts of issues stocking up her laboratories  – I can’t imagine constantly looking up suppliers in advance. They must have one kick-ass administration team.