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!

Guess the Learner Profiles, pt. 1

The IB Learner Profile is pretty important, if you teach in an IB program(me). Heck, it’s pretty important even if you don’t. Who doesn’t want their students to be inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk takers, balanced or reflective?

I’ve been trying to push this idea for an advisory lesson but with no luck so far: ask students to search for CC licensed photos that represent the IB Learner Profile. This would get the students really thinking about what each of those terms mean and how they can best represent those ideals. It would also be an excellent way of introducing Creative Commons to students (and teachers).

I thought I’d give it a try myself. My initial attempts have been more on the literal side so they might be easy. Can you guess the Learner Profiles? 

Guess the Learner Profile Guess the Learner Profile

Doing the Best with What I've Got

Or, What SharePoint has Taught  Reminded Me About the IBO

My school runs a Microsoft SharePoint portal. It’s okay, I guess. It’s a bit clunky, not very attractive and somewhat limited in terms of customization. Or so I thought…

I have been given the keys to my own little kingdom: I have been granted permissions above and beyond those of most teachers (but not fully admin rights) because of my spiffy new job title. And, like any geeky gadget-lovin’ guy or gal, I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to see how far I can go before I break something. And that’s how I discovered that, with the proper design privileges, you can embed media-rich content into SharePoint web pages.

Notice that I did not say blogs or wikis. That is the one feature that is most missed in SharePoint. You simply cannot embed videos or any other script-based ‘widget’ into the SharePoint blogs or wikis. But, emboldened by my new discoveries, I did some more research and came up with this: the Enhanced Rich Text Editor. This just adds a new button to the WYSIWYG editor that allows for exactly the embedding features I’ve been looking for. It hasn’t been installed yet but my Tech Director seems keen on the find too.

I’ve just finished reading “Education Needs to be Turned on Its Head” which was Tweeted to me by my friend @amichetti. I think his words are relevant here:

It’s this: learn about what interests you, gets you curious, gets you excited. Figure out where to get the information you need. Read about it, talk to someone about it, find out about it. Try it. Do it, make mistakes. Figure out how to correct the mistakes. Figure out how to solve the problems you encounter. Repeat.

I’ve just done exactly what we want our students to do. Find a problem; solve a problem. It was my own natural curiousity that drove this inquiry and I was only able to be an inquirer because of that extra bit of tinkering room I was given. We need to take the shackles off the students, give them the room to play, to make mistakes and maybe even break something. Let them be a risk taker! But we also need to guide them down the path of being a responsible and principled memeber of their community. Did you see what just happened?

Image Credit: Kingdom Keys by LivingOS (CC BY SA)