It seems that every time I move to a new school I arrive in the midst of the accreditation process. On one hand, it’s a great opportunity to shape the future of the school. On the other, it can be difficult to thoroughly assess a school when you’ve only just arrived. Once again, I’m in the same boat here at YIS. We’re in the second year of the accrediation process, and we spent our professional development day today working on the self-study.

In my opinion, the self-study is a fantastic opportunity. It’s an excellent way to bring concerns to light and to ensure accountability for resolving those issues. When challenges or struggles are highlighted through the self-study process, and selected for improvement by the accreditation team, the school is responsible for improving them in order to earn re-accreditation. To me, this seems like a great way to ensure that the voice of the school community is heard and that the school continues to develop over time.

The self-study requires each subject committee to assess the school according to a set of standards provided by CoISNEASC (the accrediting body), but we also have the option of adding a few indicators ourselves. Since the existing questions were so broad and open-ended (and do not lead to a discussion about technology integration in any sort of direct way) the IT department decided to add a few indicators of our own. Our goal is to both raise awareness of what we could/should be doing with technology at YIS and to gather specific feedback from all stakeholders about what is actually happening at the school. We’re hoping that these statements will bring to light specific challenges and successes of technology at YIS so that we can continue to move the school forward.

Here’s what we came up with so far:

  1. Curriculum design and delivery are consistent with the school’s technology philosophy, objectives and policies.
  2. Written curriculum materials specify expected learning outcomes for meaningful technology integration.
  3. The curriculum encourages students to leverage technology resources to meet the needs of their learning styles.
  4. The curriculum emphasizes the responsible use of social media to promote digital citizenship.
  5. The curriculum includes technology rich experiences articulated horizontally and vertically.
  6. There is clear designation of responsibility for effective and well articulated integration of technology into the curriculum.
  7. The curriculum provides opportunities for students to utilize technology to document and reflect on their learning over time as a means to promote life long learning.
  8. The school provides PD to promote new ideas and approaches to effective technology integration.
  9. Teachers manage digital learning environments to engage students in collaboration with others beyond classroom walls.
  10. Current technology resources are provided to promote effective teaching and learning.
  11. Sufficient academic technology professionals are assigned to facilitate effective technology integration.
  12. Sufficient technical and infrastructure specialists are assigned to support effective technology integration.
  13. Social and ethical use of technology & information is clearly defined and communicated to students and parents.
  14. Staff members consider current technological advances in revising curriculum and instruction.

Final Thoughts

We know we won’t be able to use all of the indicators we developed, but we also want to make sure we aren’t missing anything. Most likely we’ll be able to add 5 – 6 questions (out of the 14 below) to the self-study. The items listed in bold are the ones I feel really strongly about.

So, I need your help!

Which ones really get to the heart of effective and successful technology integration? Which ones will provide us with the best feedback from staff? Which ones can we dump? What are we missing?

A cow [15/365] by publicenergy

Goed Zoekveld by Bart van de Bietzen

17 thoughts on “The Self-Study Opportunity

  1. Hi Kim,
    I would agree with your items in bold. I think I’d also add to N0. 9, ” within as well as beyond” for the collaboration. At JIS, we do try to have performance tasks which involve technology and substantial collaboration in a variety of group sizes throughout the year. You probably do that too but it doesn’t seem to be in your extensive list. I can’t see anything that seems to be missing.
    Good luck with your accreditation!

    1. @Lindy,

      Thanks so much for that adjustment to the phrasing in number 9, I totally agree. YIS teachers will be answering the questions this week in our next accreditation PD day. Looking forward to hearing what they have to say.

  2. Hi Kim,

    I also like the points you have put in bold. I especially like 7, 9 &13. The points really hit on the areas that we need to focus on in the future. Also they address the type of learning experiences that we need to provide our students with.

    Thanks again for another thought provoking post.


    1. @Will,

      Thanks! It was even hard to choose just the ones in bold – maybe the accreditation process needs a once-over by someone with a future-perspective.

  3. I like all the points you highlighted Kim, and in addition I really like point 4 which deals with responsible use, digital citizenship and social media. I think all 3 of these will be really important for our students in the future.

  4. Kim,
    I agree with all your bold items and feel #8 is critical. If teachers are not given PD on new tools or ideas they will not be able to incorporate them in their lessons effectively. I also believe teachers need time devoted to “playing around”. A one time PD session is not enough.
    I’ll be interested in what is included in your final list!

    1. @Lisa,

      I totally agree with the concept of “playing around” – its also nice just to help teachers feel more confident that they can try things without actually breaking anything! The final list ended up being exactly what was bolded here – just couldn’t include all of them, even though I wanted to. Teachers will be completing this part of the self-study this week, so it will be interesting to hear what they say.

  5. My name is Ashley Goodwin and I am in John Strange’s edm310 class. I really enjoyed reading your post and think it’s great you all set aside time to fix the issues that were a problem. I really like #’s 7 and #3. I think it is so important to meet the needs of students with different learning styles because a lot of teachers don’t really focus on that. I enjoyed your post, thank you for allowing me to read!

  6. Hello,
    I am apart of Professor Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I enjoyed reading your blog.

  7. Hey Kim
    I’m currently developing a PD session for all school staff at a small international school in Vietnam. I’m wondering if you would be able to gauge, or had any knowledge of, to what extent int. schools are using the integrated model over the ‘old’ model. I want to highlight to staff the reality of what’s happening on the ground out there but also to stay realistic. Have cautiously titled the slide ‘Approaching Integration’! I know you have worked in a few schools that have moved over to this model (KL, ISB…), but how many more do you know of that use an integrated approach? Would you say the majority still lack a ‘technology facilitator’ as a full time position?

    1. @Jon,

      Well, I can certainly tell you about the schools I’ve worked in, because that was always one of my responsibilities: International School Bangkok, Mont’ Kiara International School and Munich International School. Also my current school, Yokohama International School. I would say most schools are starting towards this model, but that the need for a facilitator is not always included – sometimes schools just say technology is “integrated” but don’t support the staff with a teacher who’s responsible for making that happen (which in my opinion is critical).

  8. Hello Kim. My name is Wade and I am a student in Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 class at the University of South Alabama. I agree with all of the points that you highlighted in the school’s self study. I also feel strongly about #1 and #10 on your list.

  9. What? No mentioned the accreditation process during the hiring process;-)? Seriously though, thanks for posting this for discussion. It is a good one!

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