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 Looking around, teachers only see laptop computers and iPads that are so outdated that their battery life is almost non-existent. These schools might also have interactive whiteboards 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 the staff they work with to “take over” when a certain technology is needed for a lesson.
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 with the latest technologies. Everywhere a teacher looks, there are new technologies popping up around the school. Maybe there’s a teacher down the hallway who 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 the use of technology.
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 all 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!).
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 standstill?!
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 672 comments in this comment topic (April 2023). Here are a few that have been submitted:
“Classroom PCs and overhead projectors desperately need an upgrade. You get a hand-me-down laptop when you start at the school. When teaching, you have to connect your laptop to the birds nest of cords lying on the classroom floor near the teacher’s desk. Chalkdust covers the cords. And yes, the classrooms use chalkboards, similar to the 1970s. There are only a handful of Viewsonic TVs in use in the classroom, not enough to say the classrooms are high tech in any case…” – I-shou International School (Kaohsiung City, Taiwan) – 90 Comments
“The technological setup is usually projectors, with Mac and Apple TV connectivity. Most staff use Macs as a result. These are loaned out for the school year. These are supported by the use of iPads (by learners) and a decent WiFi connection (built-in VPN for Chinese-blocked websites). Some classes have Smart TVs and touch screens, although these are limited due to the impending move to the new campus. There are standard printer facilities available as well, with a direct connection via the WiFi system…” – Utahloy International School (Zengcheng) (Zengcheng, China) – 134 Comments
“You are provided a Macbook or iPad which version will depend on the grade level and availability. Students from grade 4 and up bring their own device (apple products are highly suggested) You will at least have a projector in your room but not necessarily a smartboard…” – American International School in Egypt (Main Campus) (New Cairo City, Egypt) – 76 Comments
“All classrooms are equipped with a desktop PC and an interactive whiteboard. The school Wifi connection is sometimes slow. There is a Primary ICT room as well as 2 Secondary ICT rooms. There are 3 iPADS available for teachers to use. Use of technology has not been a huge focus and investing in more iPads would be great…” – International School of Seychelles (Victoria, Seychelles) – 53 Commentscontinue reading
Random year for international schools around the world: 1969
Utilizing the database of the 850 international schools currently listed on International School Community, we found schools that were founded in 1969 (excepts about their founding are taken from the schools’ websites):
German Swiss International School (Hong Kong, China)
“The German Swiss International School Hong Kong (GSIS) was established in 1969 by German Swiss families who were looking for a bilingual German-English education in an international setting. From these early beginnings, GSIS has grown into one of the leading international schools in Hong Kong. The school’s main campus is strategically located in the picturesque and prestigious setting of The Peak, Hong Kong.”
American School of Antananarivo (Antananarivo, Madagascar)
“ASA was founded in September, 1969 as an independent, non-sectarian, co-educational day school. Its function is to provide an excellent education in an international setting to children through the twelfth grade.”
International School of Seychelles (Victoria, Seychelles)
“ISS has grown to nearly 700 students from a small beginning of nine students in 1969. ISS continues to be a vibrant learning community with students excelling themselves both academically, in sports and in many other ways.”
International School Moshi (Moshi) (Moshi, Tanzania)
“Established in 1969 to serve the needs of the expatriate and local communities, the school has grown to provide a fully accredited international education for children from age 3 to age 19, offering the International Baccalaureate Diploma, Middle Years and Primary Years programmes.”
Sir James Henderson School (Milan, Italy)
“The Sir James Henderson British School of Milan was founded in 1969 by British parents who wanted to provide a British education to their children. The school was named after Sir James Henderson, a British businessman who started up Coats in Italy after WW1. He also founded the British Chamber of Commerce and the first Rotary Club in Italy. His wife provided a generous donation to start the school. In 1969 the school had just over 90 students (84 in the lower school,12 children in the upper school). In 1994 it had 380 students and currently the school has over 770 students (440 in the lower school, over 330 children in the upper school).”
Bangalore International School (Bangalore, India)
“Bangalore International School, or American Community School as it was once called, was started in 1969. In the 60s and the 70s, although there were hundreds of American and Canadian families living in the city, there were no local schooling options that offered a North American curriculum and instruction style. The only available choice would have been boarding school. And luckily for us, this idea did not appeal to Eloise R. Bennett and her family, the founders of BIS. On contract through the University of Tennessee for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Bennett family moved to Bangalore for two years between 1969 and 1971. Finding no suitable schooling options, they decided to open their own, and so the American Community School was born, in a garage on Millers Road.”
Medan International School Sumatra (Medan, Indonesia)
“Medan International School began in 1969 and has being operating from its present site, approximately 10km for the centre of Medan, since 1980. Medan is a large city of over three million people, although the expatriate population is relatively small.”