The Bombay International School, founded in 1962, is one of the leading international schools in Mumbai, India. Since its inception, BIS has been a parent cooperative with a focus on international-mindedness in teaching and learning. To stay true to this vision, BIS became a candidate PYP school in 2013 and was authorised in 2017. It is now preparing for its first 5-year evaluation.
In its first few years as a PYP school, BIS used multiple platforms to manage teaching-learning in the PYP. They used one platform for planning and documentation, a second platform for student portfolios, and also the Google Suite of products for collaborative planning. Nita Luthria Row, the Head of Junior School shares, “While this was working, it was a very clumsy and inefficient system as it required teachers, parents and administrators to sign in and out of multiple platforms. We were constantly struggling between these platforms that didn’t speak to one another in any way and were not designed with the needs of PYP educators in mind”. These platforms were proving to be a challenge to everyone in the BIS community; on top of that there were always a lot of hidden costs. Nita recalls, “We used a planning platform used by many IB schools around the world, and while it did provide for Reports and Attendance, these were expensive add-ons to our subscription; the Reports were also not really customizable”.
Transitioning to Toddle for all Teaching and Learning Needs
When Nita heard of Toddle through the PYP Coordinator at another school, she was intrigued and decided to learn more. She shares ”I was looking to streamline the teaching and learning practices in our school and was bowled over by the potential of Toddle to be a one-stop solution for all our PYP needs. What clinched it for me was the clean visual aesthetic and intuitive design of the platform”.
Soon after, Nita decided to pilot Toddle with her Kindergarten team. “We piloted Toddle for a month (do remember, Toddle was still in its infancy then – in fact, it wasn’t even a toddler ☺️) and were amazed by how user-friendly and intuitive it was. Created by experienced IB educators, Toddle seemed to really understand what it takes to make the IB happen! My co-coordinators and I were instantly converted”. Luckily for them, convincing the Head of School and other stakeholders wasn’t much of a challenge as they realised that this was going to make things easier for teachers and happy teachers meant happier children. The best part of it Nita explains, “Moving from multiple platforms for planning, reports, portfolios, school-home communication to Toddle, not only made things simpler but also helped us reduce our technology spend. We were no longer paying for expensive add-ons for Attendance or Reports or Training.”
The transition from multiple platforms to Toddle was really easy and all the team needed to do was to provide teacher and student information along with the school’s programme documents. “It didn’t take long and we were supported by the Toddle team at every step of the way. Of course, there were snags and glitches and some teachers took a while to get used to it, but overall, Toddle was well-received by both the teachers and parents. Moreover, the engineering team at Toddle has been phenomenal in their response time. They have been open, even welcoming, of feedback. Over time, Toddle has just kept improving and adding valuable new features like Toddle Community and Toddle Learn for teachers to collaborate with and learn from PYP educators from all over the world”.
Streamlining Everyday Practices with Toddle
As a PYP community, BIS aimed to create structures that were efficient and effective. With Toddle’s Collaborative Planning features, teaching teams were able to collaborate in real-time to create meaningful units of inquiry. Nita explains, “As we began planning on Toddle, we were able to customize the planners to meet the needs of our school. The in-built planning prompts from IB documentation and comments section helped teams develop a shared understanding of the planning process and engage in meaningful collaboration”.
Toddle’s Student Portfolios also allowed teachers to collect authentic evidence on-the-go. Nita says, “Evidence collection became a part of our school culture. Simply by tagging PYP elements to tasks, we create a bank of evidence on an ongoing basis, which not only saved our time while creating Reports, but will also help us document learning for our 5-year programme evaluation.”
Urvi Mittal, the Assistant PYP Coordinator at BIS shares, “In my role as an Assistant PYP Coordinator and Grade 4 Homeroom Teacher, I am still connected to the classroom and the everyday demands of a teacher. As a PYP teacher, I felt like I was always juggling between different platforms. Not only was I spending a lot longer to plan, add evidence and create reports, I also seemed to be doing a lot of repetitive tasks”.
Building Strong Partnerships with Families
Before adopting Toddle, the teaching community at BIS used multiple platforms for their everyday needs. This meant that parents had to log-in to multiple platforms and teachers found it challenging to meaningfully engage every family. Urvi says, “Parents found it challenging to keep up with so many platforms and had to constantly guess where they would find the necessary information. Many missed information that was added to one platform because they focused on another. The platform we used for Planning, Reports and Attendance also felt very clunky and hard to navigate to our school community”. With Toddle’s comprehensive features, that was no longer the case. Parents only needed to access Toddle’s Family App to view Student Portfolios, access Progress Reports, check school policies and even connect one-to-one with the teacher.
Supporting our School Community with Remote Learning
To support remote learning during the pandemic, Toddle launched Classroom, which allowed teachers to assign tasks, give personalized feedback and initiate virtual meetings through Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Nita says, “My team especially loves adding audio instructions before assigning tasks as it makes students feel connected to their teachers. They can also assign specific tasks to specific students which makes learning accessible for all. As with all of Toddle’s features, Classroom came at no added cost and supported the school team in transitioning to online learning.
I also really appreciate the fact that Toddle is committed to developing teacher capacity and conducts Toddle Talks almost on a bi-monthly basis. They also organised the amazing Inquiry Educators Summit (TIES), and more recently, the Boot Camp for PYP Leaders. These events have brought the PYP community closer together to combat this crisis collectively.”
“The migration to Toddle has been a smooth experience. With Toddle, we have not only found a complete solution for our PYP needs, we have also gained a partner that constantly supports us every step of the way. ”