Our Connect with China trip in April took us to Beijing BISS International School, a small IB world school located on the 3rd ring road in Beijing. This was the school I worked in as E-Learning Coordinator and MYP Coordinator, and I wrote about our interactions with students while there in a previous blog post.
This blog post features the Head of Elementary School, Shannon O'Dwyer, who not only spent the morning with us sharing the Connect with China Collaborative with teachers and students, but also took the time to share with us her evolving use of WeChat (a very common app used by most/all Chinese and others beyond China, and also used by our Connect with China Collaborative participants) as a tool to build community within each class.
This is a significant discussion for the following reasons:
I consider Shannon a 'teacherpreneur' and as such someone who is not afraid to lead for change. Although she might modestly disagree with me, she is forging new pathways for communication and collaboration in a PYP school that are agile, creative and inspiring. This is in a learning environment where, as Shannon tells us, "students take the lead in sharing much of their learning and thinking seamlessly from home to school. With every passing day it is controlled less and less by the adults, and is more a community focused on learning".
I encourage all global education leaders to be encouraged by the work of Shannon and learners at BISS. New attitudes and habits of learning that include the use of emerging technologies show us new ways of connecting and communicating support learning. According to Shannon WeChat is providing a vital connection to everyday events in the classroom and in the community - beyond the facility of a classroom blog. Students and parents interact with teachers and school leaders sharing ideas, questions, activities and more. The interview is about 8 min. long - but I encourage you to watch it all!
Images of our trip to BISS
Classrooms, teachers, students, Beijing BISS International School, and lunch at a local favourtie restaurant!
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