How a Strong LMS Can Empower Your IB Candidate School
Chances are you’re here between intense PD sessions, on a break from drafting complex policy documents, or after a long day of navigating through the countless IB candidacy requirements with your team.
No matter what your circumstances are, rest assured that a strong LMS (aka learning management system) can make things a lot easier for you.
And not just by automating admin tasks and housing your school’s paperwork.
When chosen well, an LMS can become your team’s virtual confidant during candidacy. Your go-to for everything from scaffolded curriculum guidance and actionable PD resources to simplified evidence collection and best practices to ace your authorisation visit!
Read on to discover five biggest impacts that a strong LMS can have on your IB candidate school.
- 1. Guided curriculum planning experience
- 2. Effective and timely transfer of learning
- 3. Streamlined evidence collection for your authorisation visit
- 4. Personal guidance from a support team that knows the platform as well as the pedagogy
- 5. All aspects of teaching and learning connected seamlessly
1. Guided curriculum planning experience
The greatest quality of the IB programme is perhaps how it fully trusts schools to build and deliver their own curriculum. However, for candidate teams, this level of creative freedom can often feel very new, and therefore a little chaotic and overwhelming.
You’re beyond excited to design your own units for students. But you’re also tired out by the number of documents you need to juggle each time you design one. You’ve got several creative ideas for inquiry-based teaching, but you’re unsure of how to articulate them in your central idea or which ATL would best suit what you’re envisioning.
This is where a strong LMS can make a difference!
An LMS built specifically for the IB will offer a whole host of features to ensure a smarter, more guided planning experience for your team:
- Pre-built IB planning templates: These templates will help you document everything from overarching learning goals to daily lesson plans in one place. Moreover, all curriculum elements – ATL, learner profile, scope and sequences – will be pre-listed in this template, so you can simply click to pick relevant ones for your unit. Saves so much time and also scaffolds planning for your teachers!
- Stepwise IB guidance within the planner : Relevant excerpts from IB guides will be available at each step of the planning process. For example, you can view the best practices to craft an SOI, as and when you’re crafting one for your unit. This helps ensure that the IB guidelines remain at the forefront of your school’s unit plans at all times.
- Space for real-time collaboration : A strong LMS will make sure that collaborative planning is a lot more than your teachers making occasional edits to the same document. It provides space within the planner (an inbuilt chat interface, for example) so your teachers can discuss meaningful transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary connections, exchange ideas, and leave feedback on each other’s units – all in real time. You’ll also notice that reviewing units becomes a lot easier for you as a coordinator.
- Auto-generated planning insights : With thorough analytics on curriculum planning, you will be able to automatically track which ATL, learner profile, and other learning outcomes you’ve covered in each unit and ensure better vertical and horizontal balance in your curriculum.
2. Effective and timely transfer of learning
Your PD calendar at the moment is likely filled with several IB workshops, IB exchange sessions, and some really cool guides on curriculum planning. (Here’s one more we’d recommend you check out!)
But how often (and effectively) are your teachers able to transfer learnings from these PD sessions to day-to-day teaching in the classroom?
Let’s assume your team has spent an entire week learning how to draw meaningful connections between the ATL and academic content. Are you then able to take out a few more hours to practice drawing such connections in your units? And even if you’re able to make time, do you and your teachers have the right tools to practice and reflect on these learnings?
Here’s how an LMS will help make PD a part of your team’s daily routine and provide opportunities for continuous practice and reflection:
- IB resources embedded within the platform: Being able to access timely bytes of PD – like IB guidelines within your planners, pre-built IB-specific rubrics, and best practices for writing progress reports – will help your teachers deepen their understanding of the IB as they go about their day-to-day work.
- Pre-built classroom resources to serve as inspiration : A rich bank of pre-built units and learning experiences in your LMS will help you observe and learn how other IB schools around the world are creating units and learning experiences.
- PD resources, connections to global communities : A well-established LMS will be backed by strong networks of educators who can introduce you to high quality community-led events, actionable guides, and talks that are specific to candidate schools like yours.
3. Streamlined evidence collection for your authorisation visit
Preparing documentation for your authorisation visit can feel intense to say the least.
You’ve got 160+ standards and practices (S&Ps) to cover and you need to sift through massive folders to find the most relevant evidence for each one! (The average candidate team manages over 700 folders. Want to take a moment and check your school’s drive?)
Simply because of how cumbersome this process can be, we’ve seen that candidate teams tend to either compromise on the quality of evidence they present, or even lose sight of whether they are covering all the S&Ps.
Here’s how a strong LMS – one that offers a dedicated module to streamline authorisation – will make evidence collection foolproof for your team:
- Unified dashboard to collect evidence in one place : A dedicated evidence dashboard that will automatically organise all your evidence in one folder helps you and your team view, add, modify, or remove evidence at the click of a button.
- On-the-go evidence collection : As and when your teachers record new units or assessments, you can simply tag them to the right standards and practices, and they will automatically be organised into your evidence dashboard.
- All standards and practices pre-listed : You won’t need to stress over missing standards and practices anymore. The authorisation module in your LMS will automatically list all the standards and practices and this can serve as a checklist for the entire team.
- Supports multimodal evidence collection: Your LMS will let you freely embed videos, audio-notes, sketches, word documents and more – all in one place and make sure you present a rich bank of diversified evidence.
- Makes the process collaborative: You can use the collaboration space within your authorisation dashboard to review evidence, request teachers for new evidence, or approve them. So you can say goodbye to the back-and-forth emails and meetings once for all!
- One-click access to IB visitors : Finally, you’ll be able to invite the visiting team to your evidence dashboard and give them one-click access to comprehensive, authentic documentation! Check out how PYP coordinator, Candice Combrinck used Toddle’s evidence collection to impress the IB visitors.
PS: Receiving the much coveted email confirming that you’re now a “Fully Authorised IB School” can feel exhilarating! Here’s wishing you’re only a few months away from it. 😊
4. End-to-end support from a team that knows the platform as well as the pedagogy
No matter how many great guides and workshops your team has access to, nothing beats a personal connection! Nothing beats hearing about the extraordinary classroom experiences of an IB educator you trust, learning from the resources they personally recommend for you, and the confidence and compassion they offer when you need it most.
That’s exactly what an LMS built for IB candidate schools will also offer. A team of good-willed IB educators and ex-IBENs who’re always happy to talk and guide you through not just the platform, but your candidate journey as a whole.
Here are just some of the things a strong support team does to help you feel right at home with the IB:
- Unlimited training : A support team that understands the IB will ease your stress by providing unlimited training on the platform as well as how best to build and execute your curriculum.
- Quick customisations : The team will always be accommodative of your school’s needs and go the extra mile to customise the platform for you. Need your teachers to access your school’s in-house resources from within the planner? Need an integration with the SIS of your choice? Done and done!
- Curriculum expertise : The Ex-IBENs in the support team can share their personal experiences, learnings, and insights throughout your IB candidacy. From recommending PD resources to connecting you to global IB communities to helping you assemble required documentation for your IB visit, they’ll ensure that you feel safe and supported throughout your journey.
- True admiration for what you do! : Only a fellow educator can truly understand how incredibly rewarding but also stressful your job can be! This respect and compassion that they have for you will show in their quick responses and their passion towards making the platform work better for you.
Here’s what educators from around the World had to say about Toddle’s support team:
5. All aspects of teaching and learning connected seamlessly
The IB requires schools to draw meaningful connections between different aspects of teaching and learning. You need to refer to evidence of learning while planning units, assessment data while creating reports, and so on. And as a candidate team it can get overwhelming for you to build these connections manually.
A strong LMS can help by bringing all aspects of teaching and learning in one place and drawing seamless connection between them:
- Evidence of learning within planners : Your teachers will be able to access evidence of student learning from within the planner and engage in more informed reflections, identify learning gaps, and plan for better differentiation.
- Students’ daily work flows into portfolios : Every time a student submits their work, you can automatically add it to their portfolio and also tag relevant learning goals. This way, families can also develop a deeper understanding about the IB through their children’s day to day work.
- Assessment data flows into reports : You will be able to access student work, assessment data, and meaningful graphs on grading histories for each student within your progress report template
- Data from all modules flows into your evidence dashboard: This one is a candidate school favorite! With a single click, you will be able to access unit planners, portfolios, progress reports, policy documents – all within your evidence dashboard.
Toddle for IB candidate schools
Designed by IB educators with a collective experience of over hundred years, Toddle understands and caters to all such unique needs of teachers and school leaders who are new to the curriculum. Here’s more on the five specific structures of Toddle that have helped over 200 IB candidate schools complete their authorisation visits successfully!