IB Art on iBooks

Most instructors would agree that the importance of students taking ownership of their own learning and creative growth is paramount to ensuring their success. With something as demanding as the diploma program, and IB Art, in particular, it is critical for students to understand that, like most journeys, this course is a continual process that ebbs and flows in proportion to their own exploration and creative drive. That said, as teachers, we are also here to coach students and help them achieve. This is why my former colleague and I decided to piece together this guide. In it, students will find practical information and details about process portfolios, the comparative study, and the final exhibition – all key assessments required to complete the IB visual art diploma program. Again, @MrsYungArt  and I found that the best way to do this was through an interactive companion. Our most recent update, for example, delivers new curriculum standard tables, an updated design, and student exemplars – all of which would not be possible through traditional means. Ultimately, our hope that the information and practices included will be used in a range of contexts and ultimately inspire students to gain a better grasp of IB and the concepts that guided our thinking.

Download here


Microsoft in Education: My Learning Pathway

Last week, I began one the learning pathways offered through the Microsoft’s Innovative Educator (MIE) Program. The pathways, unlike the individual courses, are bundled to provide a professional development pathway. I chose Teaching with Technology, a four-parter that centered around Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and finding “the appropriate technologies to match (y)our teaching activities and aims”. At its core, and as someone who’s been part of the #sisrocks community, the message, was a familiar one.

Gardner reminds us that “Technology [cannot] dictate educational goals. A pencil can be used to write Shakespearean sonnets or copy homework. The Internet can be used to engender enlightenment or hatred” In other words, before we can embrace any new technology, we must have a firm grasp of what our educational goals are and how, in this case, technology can help us achieve them.









As I moved through the learning pathway, this message kept resurfacing both in the structure of the course and it’s resources, all of which were clearly embedded into each module. Similar to the SAMR model, the courses adhered to a bigger hierarchy, in this case Microsoft’s E-transformation stages.






Additionally, all of the courses ended with a summary and a quiz one had to pass in order to proceed to the next course. The nice thing is that you can take the quizzes as many times as you need. There are also badges and a points system to help you styay on track and advance through the program. All in all, the Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) Program is similar to the other certification programs such as ADE and Google programs for teachers, in that it is a great way to take your career to the next level.

If you would like to know more or have any questions on how to get started stop by the genius bar on either campus or hit me up on twitter

My Journey through MIE

These days, it seems that everywhere you look private companies are putting their stamp on a teacher’s ability to effectively deliver curriculum using their platform. There’s the Apple Teacher program, you can become a Google Certified Educator, and even BrainPOP will “certify” you as a teacher. Although one might argue that we, as educators, should be giving our approval as to whether or not their systems are useful in the learning journey of our students, some of these programs do offer free, comprehensive professional learning opportunities.

After Microsoft Office 365 (o365) was adopted at SIS for its collaborative platform and unrestricted access within China, it was the Learning Innovation Team’s job to help with the transition to this platform as a viable option for students, teachers, and parents to engage with transformative practice.  To this end, the LI team began exploring what Microsoft offers in terms of their certification process.


Signing in to the Microsoft Education Community is easy with your SIS Office 365 account.


As I recently perused the Microsoft Education Community resource site, I found it to be much more in depth, both in terms of resources as well as pedagogical exploration, than its counterparts.  First off, it was far less about learning the tools (although there are courses that deal directly with learning how to use tools found within o365) and much more about how you might effectively use these tools to enhance student learning.  Secondly, you are able to follow multiple different paths to achieve becoming badged as a Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE).  This includes taking individual stand-alone classes or working through Microsoft-designed Learning Pathways that combine these individual classes to lead you to mastery on a given topic.

A learning pathway with a pre-designed combination of classes.


What this means for educators is that Microsoft allows you to individualize what you do to gain points in their system.  By gaining 1000 points with any combination, you will receive an MIE badge.  Other courses and pathways also gain your badges and certificates within Microsoft’s imaginative digital badging for educators.

You can check your achievements and progress by viewing your Microsoft Educator’s Profile.


I started by just taking a few individual classes and really found the Skype Collaboration class extremely useful.  It is quite amazing how you can bring experts from around the world into your classroom, give students exposure to different cultures and multiple perspectives.  Skype also allows you to act as an expert for Skype in the Classroom.


It’s easy to undergo virtual field trips or share your expertise using Skype Collaborations.


In then end, it really isn’t about gaining some certificate or digital badge.  It’s not about being able to say you are an #MIEexpert.  It really boils down to learning how to create the best digital learning environment for your students with the tools you have at your disposal.  Having experienced the education community of multiple online platforms, I will say that the Microsoft Education Community seems to be the most comprehensive community, with basic tutorials on specific tools, to sharing great lesson plans, to actual pedagogical conversations.  If you have any interest in exploring some free online PL on effectively using technology in your classroom, become a Skype guest speaker, beef up on your Microsoft product skills, or start your journey to becoming an MIE, sign into the Microsoft Educator Community and start diving in.  If you would like help in getting started, please feel free to come see us at the genius bar on either campus.