I have been teaching in international schools around the world since 2000 with my husband, Alex, a humanities, ESL and English teacher.
This international adventure began with my first trip abroad in 1997, as part of a study abroad program in Florence, Italy. That semester in Italy was enough to convince me that I was born to travel! Upon my return to the University of Connecticut for my final 2 years of undergraduate study, I began to research ways to live abroad and in the process, discovered teaching. I began as an ESL instructor for international teaching assistants and mentor for international exchange students at UConn. This taste of education prompted me to look for ways to teach abroad, and thus, I discovered the world of international schools.
My first international school posting was at Munich International School in Germany, where I stayed for 5 years. During those five years in Germany, I was trained as an MYP technology teacher and was approved as an MYP Trainer. I developed and implemented the integrated technology program at MIS, as well as infusing the curriculum with multimedia tools like digital video, website authoring and media rich presentations. I also had the opportunity to present my work at MIS at several conferences, including the Association of German International Schools in Hannover in January 2005, and the MYP Advanced Teachers Conference at the International School of Amsterdam in March 2005.
After five years in Germany, I was ready for another adventure, and so began my career at Mont’Kiara International School in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Again, I developed an implemented the integrated technology program at M’KIS, infusing the curriculum with even more multimedia tools, as well as new web 2.0 tools like blogging, wikis, and podcasts.
During my two years at M’KIS, I continued my professional development by joining the SUNY Buffalo Educational Leadership cohort at the International School of Kuala Lumpur. The course includes exciting workshops ranging from Assessment in International Schools with Bambi Betts, to Integrating Differentiation and Understanding by Design with Jay McTighe, and Cognitive Coaching with Bill and Ochan Powell. Engaging in this coursework helped me realize how much I enjoy curriculum development and design that focuses on project-based learning that naturally embeds the authentic use of technology tools as appropriate for our 21st century learning environment.
Next, I spent three years as the 21st Century Literacy Specialist, and then Middle School Technology and Learning Coordinator at the International School Bangkok in Thailand. My role at ISB combined my past experiences as a technology facilitator with the wealth of resources available in the library. In collaborating with the librarians and the educational technology department, my focus was to blend the traditional role of a library with the requirements of the 21st century global student. At ISB (as in Malaysia), my work focused on helping core subject teachers utilize web 2.0 technologies in the classroom, to create a global and collaborative approach to learning.
Next, I spent five years as the Technology and Learning Coach at Yokohama International School in Japan. Working with all three divisions (ES, MS, HS) at YIS allowed me to bridge the gap between curriculum models (PYP, MYP and DP) as well as to develop a consistent approach to technology integration. In addition to my teaching and coaching responsibilities, I had many great opportunities to develop my leadership skills at YIS. For me, the most important was collaborating with all community stakeholders to create an inclusive, open and involved learning environment through the development of the YIS Connected Learning Community (CLC): a 1:1 program for students in grades 4 – 12. The CLC features a whole-school blogging platform and Google Apps for Education (for both students and teachers), as well as regular parent sessions, empowered teacher leadership, and an integrated digital citizenship program. Due to the successful implementation of CLC, in my third year at YIS, we developed the next evolution of the program, where all students in grade 7 are issued both a laptop and tablet. This innovative teaching and learning environment reflects the strong community connections, engaged students, and empowered teaching community I am proud to have been a part of.
Throughout my years as a teacher, I have always strived to consciously grow and develop as a learner. I enjoy reflecting on my professional experiences on my blog, Always Learning, as a way to practice what I teach. Outside of school, I enjoy lifting heavy weights, running, vegetarian or vegan cooking, yoga, zen meditation, jewelry making, reading, movies, and anything that has to do with technology.
I am an enthusiastic, passionate teacher, who truly loves working with anyone interested in learning – from children, to teachers, to parents! My goal as a technology coach is to empower others with the skills for how to learn with technology, and to ensure that every child or adult that leaves a learning experience with me feels comfortable, confident, and excited about the challenges and rewards that technology has to offer.