Mind-Mapping for Formative Assessment and Modification

“Best Practices in teaching are enhanced by technology, not replaced by it” —  Elizabeth Cho-Young


Organizing information into graphic organizers such as mind-maps is a great way for many students to sift through big ideas.  Although Inspiration has traditionally been the leader in mind-mapping software, check out a few of these FREE mind-mapping apps. (Click on the app icon to go to the Apple Store)

For iPad

Popplet Lite


Great app that allows text, drawing and importing pictures into idea bubbles.  Click here to see a video using Popplet to create mind-maps.



Total Recall


Easy to use, looks great, but without the ability to draw and insert pictures.




Idea Sketch

Click here to see Seo Young Won explaining how she used Idea Sketch to complete the following formative assessment:

For Mac

Mind Node


For your Mac Laptop.  Easy to create, modify and export complicated mind-maps.

Learning Through iCamera

Here is a simple but yet effective way of having kindergarten students engaged in learning numbers while taking full advantage of technology. Enjoy!

After the students took snap shots of numbers they found with their partner. All the students returned back into the classroom and viewed what they took on the iPad through AirSever. Every student got to showcase their photographic skills instantaneously, while reviewing the numbers they captured.

Student directed learning with iPad

Cheryl Uy has been doing some amazing work redefining learning in ECLC 2B.

In this video above, four multinational students begin to spontaneously teach each other their respective languages (with some thoughtful guidance from Cheryl).  A stunning example of authentic, student directed learning.  A cute video too – click the picture to watch.

You can also check out ECLC 2B’s blog

Improving classroom transparency

SIS staff have been experimenting with ways to improve classroom transparency and parent communication.

Melissa Edwards in KD has been using her iPad, camera app and DropBox workflow to create video overviews of classroom routines and then share then securely with parents.

Mick Huiet has also been innovating in this area.  This video tutorial below showcases how he uses iPhoto to create video snapshots of different learning activities.

Showcasing learning through Infographics

An Infographic is a popular way to present data by distilling words, data points, key concepts and illustrations into a visual representation of the material. Here is a really interesting infographic on the 21st century classroom:

Components of a 21st Century Classroom – An infographic by the team at Open Colleges


Some useful tools for creating infographics:

Student-created infographics

Students have been using infographics to showcase their learning in the Middle School.

Elly’s Infographic:

Anastasia’s Infographic:

~ Katie Kruse

MacBook Pros for all Freshmen!

Today all 9th Graders received brand new MacBook Pros!  During a special advisory session students learnt how to set up their new devices and then ran through basic care, use and applications.

We’re really excited to see what they start creating over the coming weeks and months!  Special thanks to Mr McElroy, Mrs Kruse, Mr Ruti, Mr McCrea, Mr Bill, Mr Uy, Mr Yoseph and Mr Tsui for all their help with the preparation.

It was an exciting day for all involved – check out the pictures!

Getting Your iCal to Show SIS, HS, and MS Calendars

If you’d like to subscribe to the calendars here at school (SIS, High School, Middle School) so you can easily view important dates and events at SIS, check out the following video.  Please note that following method will automatically add these calendars to your iPad and iPhone. ***iCloud is required***

SIS Calendar


Middle School Calendar


High School Calendar




SAMR as a reflective tool

I’ve used Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model over the last few years to discuss the integral use of technology (http://bit.ly/j6O8D) and also as a reflective framework for educators.

For the latter, I’ve always considered each stage to be a discrete step in the learning journey.  E.g. a teacher begins with substitution and once some level of mastery has been achieved, augmentation kicks-off.  Likewise, I believed any learning experience could be pegged to an individual stage.

What has become apparent as we watch our staff at Shekou International School, is that the journey occurs simultaneously across all four stages.  Even though a teacher is new to the iPad and engaging in a large chunk of substitution, they’re also simultaneously augmenting practice, modifying some student learning opportunities and experimenting with redefinition.  It also appears that any given learning experience can be a composite of the SAMR stages.

There seems to be a constant interplay between the four stages and the key to establishing a successful learning experience is in getting the right mix.  In a short space of time we’ve seen quite a range of practice and innovation @ SIS.  It’s going to be a very interesting year.