Comment Topic Highlight

Which technologies are available at your international school and how are the staff using/not using them?

September 13, 2015


Sometimes it feels like we are working in an international school with the worst technology available. Looking around, teachers only see laptop computers and iPads that are so out-dated that their battery life is almost non-existent. These schools might also have interactive white boards that are not so “interactive” anymore, and staff just use them as overhead projectors instead.

Some international schools even have teachers that are scared of technology. They think they can’t or don’t need to use it; depending on staff they work with to “take-over” when a certain technology is needed for a lesson.

4448501939_827ff46681_z

It is not fun being de-motivated by technology that depresses you, confuses you or just plain doesn’t work.

On the flip side, many of us are working at international schools that are well-resourced in the latest technologies.  Everywhere a teacher looks, there are new technologies popping up around the school. Maybe there’s a teacher down the hallway is using a new App and having success, thus inspiring and prompting the other teachers to quickly get that app on their device as well. Exciting times!

These “technology-friendly” schools typically have an inspiring group of ICT teaching professionals on hand that are making sure the technologies are being used (and used effectively for that matter). The ICT teachers educate the students AND the teachers on how to use these technologies in an educational setting. Furthermore, they also collaborate and team-teach classes with classroom teachers during lessons that integrate use of technology.

4623303363_41da494cb4_z

Cool technology is great in schools, but there’s a downside. If the technology is not literally in your classroom all the time, often it is not being used to its full potential (meaning the impact it can have on the students’ learning).  Having all technologies available in EVERY teacher’s room is just not a reality in most (all?) international schools.

But, there are dream stories that do happen. I heard a real story about a private international school situated in the mountains in Switzerland. This school wished to have some new computers, and surprisingly, one of the parents came to school the next day bringing with her many Mac computers (you can assume they were the latest version as well). There were enough new computers for all the students at the school (the school’s population wasn’t that large by the way).  Now that’s a nifty 1:1 programme that the school just adopted!

Not at international schools are so lucky though, and their teachers are left with years-old technologies to use with their students with little to no hope of a plan to upgrade everything (I mean it costs thousands of $$$ for schools to even try and stay up-to-date!).

11080515534_2750516521_z

It is also a time-consuming job to keep a school updated with new technology.  There needs to be a clever person in charge and one that has a master plan on how to fund and organize a school’s technology resources. The big question then is which international schools have just gone through an overhaul of their technologies and which ones are currently at a stand still?

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out what technology an international school has and how they use it, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “Describe the technologies available at the school and how people are/are not using them.

Our veteran international school teachers have submitted a total of 75 comments in this comment topic (Sept. 2015).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“Teachers are provided with a MacBook and iPad for professional use. Elementary classrooms are stocked with a wide variety of technology: 1:1 iPads, Apple TV, Promethean boards with surround sound, iPad stands, projector…” – Singapore American School (Singapore, Singapore) – 17 Comments

“The technologies available are reasonably good. Most classrooms have projectors and some even have the interactive white boards. Teachers usually have a computer in their classroom to work on and laptops can be borrowed by staff to use at home if absolutely necessary. The IT department has a full computer suit with reasonably modern computers and printer etc. but you would have to ask permission if this could be used for any other lesson than ICT.” – Wesgreen International Private School (Sharjah, United Arab Emirates) – 23 Comments

“2015-16 – Currently overhauling IT department and school IT infrastructure to support high-speed internet across the campus. Has a computer lab with 25 computers available for students. Teachers are provided desktop computers for classroom use.” –American Pacific International School (Chang Mai, Thailand) – 18 Comments

“The school has site-wide high-speed broadband (20mb) with a really hardworking tech support team. All teachers are required to operate in a blended learning environment with Moodle. This has been introduced over the last two years as part of the board’s new KICS 2020 strategy to integrate C21 approaches to learning. There is a full time EdTech integration coordinator who supports us all as we build our Moodle classes.” – Khartoum International Community School (Khartoum, Sudan) – 65 Comments

continue reading

Comment Topic Highlight

What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at your school?

June 29, 2015


Oh, if we were to have all the insider information before signing the contract of an international school that has just offered you a job.  In theory, knowing the insider information about working at a specific school could definitely help you make a more informed decision.

9424176826_067a2dd696_z

There are so many international schools in the world. Each international school is in a different situation. Even if you try and keep the most up-to-date with reading every review about the school that you can get your eyes on, it is difficult to know exactly what it is really like to work there.

But, the more you know, the better. Or is it the less you know, the better? Our guess though is that most teachers recruiting to work at international schools want to know as much information (good or bad) as possible; with a preference for firsthand information.

How then can you get this insider information?  One of the best ways is to have some communication with a veteran international school teacher. If you are already a veteran international school teacher yourself, it shouldn’t be so hard to find somebody who knows somebody who has worked at a certain international school.  The longer you stay in the international school community, the number of connections that you have increases.

Once you find a good connection, he/she is more than willing to share with you what they know and answer your burning questions.  The connection shares about what life is like living in the city, all the ins and outs of what it is like working at the school, how the money situation is along with all the other benefits (or lack of benefits), etc.  It would appear that there is actually an endless list of insider information topics.  This connection will most likely also tell you answers to questions that you never even had thought to ask.  The more information the connection shares with you, the more at ease (or nervous) you become. It definitely feels good to finally get some answers from real people who have recently worked there.

9409921931_1e3c8e6c7d_z

But for the newbies, who don’t know many (if any) international school teachers yet, it would appear they have a much more difficult task of getting this insider information. Maybe they can try to get some insider information at the recruitment fair that they might have attended.  There are always other candidates that are walking around the hotel common areas.  These newbies might even try to starting chatting with some of the administration from the other schools.  You would be surprised how much administration enjoys talking about these insider information topics as well.

If there is one thing that is certain, people in the international school community love talking about the schools they currently work at or have worked at in the past. Insider information is what we want to know and what we are all craving to know.

Screenshot 2015-01-25 12.40.58

Luckily, International School Community has a comment topic on our school profile pages related to figuring out some of this insider information about working at certain international schools, so you can stay the most informed as possible. It is called: “What insider information would you give to a teacher considering working at this school?

Our veteran international school teacher have submitted a total of 71 comments in this comment topic (June 2015).  Here are a few that have been submitted:

“The secondary is laid back and you will enjoy it if you have good classroom management. There won’t be much actual support from admin regarding discipline. The elementary is micro-managed, meeting-heavy and overloaded.” – American International School (Abu Dhabi) (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)19 Comments

“One important thing to note right now is that the primary and middle school principals are leaving at the end of this year, and the director and the high school principal are leaving at the end of the next school year. So, there will be a complete change over of admin staff in the next year or so. There is no specific reason why these admin are leaving, just a coincidence that they are all leaving at the same time. Most of them have been at the school between 4-6 years.” – Copenhagen International School (Copenhagen, Denmark)244 Comments

“You are given a lot of autonomy to make it or break it in the classroom. The salary won’t make you rich, but you can live off it on a Mediterranean island for a couple years. There’s always something to complain about, and the facilities are sometimes more functional than glamorous, but all these reflect the island itself. You’re given everything you need to do a great job and the kids appreciate it.” – Verdala International School (Pembroke, Malta)22 Comments

“Working here requires a great commitment of time and energy to the school; though this may be said of many boarding schools, it may be that this one requires an even greater time commitment. Families with children struggle here as the local public schools have a different vacation schedule and the meeting schedule can be a little bit punishing; families with smaller children and two working parents are discouraged from applying. A very good school if you adore outdoor activities, it must be said, though there are already plenty of staff members to represent this side of life. The students are, in general, wonderful. As most are “pre-screened,” behavioral problems in the classroom are very, very rare, and many students are academic high-flyers. Teachers get a bit spoiled here based on the caliber of student and with the compressed timetable, you may find you leave behind many aspects of good teaching and resort to more lecturing, though the students seem to do well nevertheless. Housing here is varied; you may find yourself in merely adequate accomodations. Cliques among the staff make it difficult to find ones place socially within the school community. The school can be a very rewarding place to work, but the idea of the school as a miracle of education is not a reality, and there are many frustrations, especially in lack of commuication and the decision-making process at the top, that leave one asking how the school has maintained said reputation. In short one might gauge that of the new teachers in the past five years, many or most are not fully happy at AC, but only some to the extent of considering leaving. The turnover rate may well remain low. The upshot: Don’t be blinded by the reputation of the school in deciding whether to come here. Talk to staff members and students, for example, especially those who have left recently. This author remains glad to have had the chance to work here, but the challenges here have aged me.” – UWC Atlantic College (St Donat’s, United Kingdom)14 Comments

continue reading