Parents, Tablets, and the IB Learner Profile

This week we will be holding an information evening for parents of students who will be receiving tablets for the first time next year. That’s a total of four grade levels: next year’s Grade 5, 6, 7 and 8 will all be getting their hands on the magic next year! This is the third time we’ve run one of these sessions in the Middle School/High School — our rollout has been pretty gradual: grades 10 and 11 the first year, then grades 8, 9 and 10 (plus 11 and 12 from the previous year) and now the entire MSHS.

For this group of parents, I have been tasked with talking about some of the specifics of the 1:1 program and how it will affect their children and themselves. Along with some of the usual big themes – How are we going to support the students?; How are we going to support the parents? – I thought I would use the IB Learner Profile to put the rationale into perspective. As stated by the IBO, “The IB learner profile is the IB mission statement translated into a set of learning outcomes for the 21st century.” Our move to a 1:1 program is an extension of what we have always been doing!

The following images and descriptions are in draft mode. I would appreciate any feedback (positive or negative!) or suggestions to improve them in the comments below. All images are taken from Flickr under a Creative Commons license except where noted.


Inquirers – Students will have the ability to access meaningful, up-to-date and relevant information whenever they need it. Learning environments can be set up to encourage inquiry and discovery.


Knowledgeable – Students will have the ability to reference facts, skills and resources like never before. Their notes will be searchable and easily organized. Gives an opportunity to show their knowledge in different and authentic ways.


Thinkers – Critical thinking skills become increasingly important, due to the flood of information available. Students need to analyze and evaluate information.


Communicators – Allows our students to communicate and collaborate with others, either in our school or across the world.

Two to choose from! Which do you prefer?



Communicators 2

Principled – Students and teachers must examine what it means to be a principled member of society in a technology-rich world. This is not something we can bury our heads in the sand about. If we (schools and parents) do not teach them, who will?


Open Minded – Nothing yet… Suggestions?

Caring – Increasingly, interaction is taking place between individuals or groups online. It is important for students to understand the consequences of cyberbullying as well as how to be an effective member of digital communities.

I’m not sure how I feel about this image. It seems to show the opposite of caring…

Note: This image is from the University of Alabama and used based on the permission given there.


Risk Takers – Students, teachers and parents at UNIS are at the leading edge of technological adoption. In a recent survey conducted by Triple A Learning of MYP schools worldwide, less than 1 in 8 schools identified themselves as 1:1.

Risk Takers

Balanced – A balanced education is one that takes into account all appropriate learning opportunities. By adopting a 1:1 program, we are not abandoning non-technological modes of learning. We are, however, giving our students that ability to experience learning in a way that is more representative to how students today and tomorrow will live their lives. I’m trying to figure out how to encapsulate Will Richardson’s sentiment


Reflective – A 1:1 program gives students a wide range of tools that can be used to reflect upon their learning and thus improve the metacognitive abilities of those students. Because of their archive of work, it will allow students to compare their learning from year to year.


Again, your thoughts and feedback are encouraged!

8 thoughts on “Parents, Tablets, and the IB Learner Profile

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  • May 10, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Very nice.

    An idea for ‘Open Minded’ might to to emphasize how evolving collaboration tools allow us to interact with people from all over the world – gaining perspectives we never would only relating to those we rub shoulders with.

  • May 10, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    @jay I like that line of thinking regarding Open Minded. It dovetails nicely with Communicator and Caring. I was also thinking about being open minded in terms of our vision of what education is and how education today necessarily differs from education 5, 10, 15 years ago.

  • May 12, 2010 at 12:56 am

    Hi Clint, first of all I think it’s an excellent idea to use the IB Learner Profile in your presentation to parents. As you know I have just moved from a school that had a 1:1 tablet programme – my son was one of the first students to be given a tablet and neither he, nor us as parents, were given any information or guidance during the first years of the programme. Clearly what you are doing here is very important and very necessary and I’m sure the parents will appreciate it.
    For the communicator photo, I actually like the 2nd one better. I love the Facebook photo – especially in the light of comments in the past few days about closing the Facebook accounts!! I like the comment from Jay about open-mindedness coming from interacting with and collaborating with people with different views around the world.
    I’m not sure about the caring photo. I’ve recently been mentoring a group of students for the PYP Exhibition and they are presenting on bullying – their idea is that people going through their exhibition will be subjected to bullying (verbal abuse, IM etc) so that they can feel what it is like to be bullied. I’m not sure about this as an approach – although this could be quite powerful, it seems a very negative way to get across an anti-bullying message.
    My son has just graduated and is now at university. He had 4 years of a 1:1 programme at his school, and previous to this, at another school, had his own laptop for 3 years. In my son’s case using a computer was the best thing that ever happened to him, as he has a writing problem and just couldn’t write fast enough to get all this thoughts down on paper – he was able to use the tablet during his IB exams too. I am convinced that having his own computer during the last 7 years of schooling really helped him to succeed in the IB. However I would advise caution – last year his school had the worst IB results for many years with 6 students failing the diploma. As a parent and as a teacher I really feel the students were not given enough guidance and support in the 1:1 programme – my son and his friends have told me that for some students the tablets were a distraction and that some of the students who failed would have done better without them! Partly, I think, this is because the teachers were not given the right PD and support either so never really took onboard all the new possibilities of teaching with them, and for many it was just a case of doing old things in old ways (for example scanning in maths worksheets so the students could work on them using the stylus!). I wish you luck in your continued roll out of the tablets at your school, and in the support that you are giving to your students, parents and teachers.

  • May 12, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    @Maggie Thanks for the feedback on the images. I feel the same way about the ‘Caring’ image. All of the other images are ‘phrased’ in the positive and this one is completely negative. I will continue my search…

    Thanks also for the background related to your experiences in a 1:1 environment, both as a teacher and as a parent. We are (somewhat) struggling with the same question that you refer to: How do we know that our students are benefiting from our 1:1 program? We know from both first-hand and anecdotal evidence that, without training and support, the tablets act as multipliers: a good student has the potential to be a great student, a poor student has the potential to be a terrible student; a highly organized individual will be hyper-organized, a poorly organized individual will be a complete mess.

    I hope that by encapsulating our rationale and aims for the 1:1 program within the Learner Profile, we can effectively communicate that our decision to do so a) is in complete alignment with what we have done previously; b) anticipates the needs of our students’ futures; and c) represents sound holistic educational pedagogy.

    (Thanks, BTW. Writing out that last paragraph has given me some further ideas for this presentation!)

  • August 25, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    @Erin Johnson I like the imagery suggested in both of those images, particularly the “Keyhole to Heaven”. It implies to me that by getting past our own narrow perspective there is a whole other world to be explored!

    Unfortunately, it is a copyrighted image and I wouldn’t feel right about including it in my presentations. However, I’m sure we could easily find an image with similar imagery that is licensed under Creative Commons. Thanks for the suggestion!

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