A school committed to digital citizenship, GEMS International School, Al Khail aims to prepare students with compassion, competence, and resilience for a fast-paced global community.
Their Coordinator, Mark Krabousanos shares, “We always encourage students to find out how technology can assist and differentiate learning, but as teachers we weren’t making the best of technology ourselves. For instance, when we planned units using the Google Suite, our coordinator from a different curriculum and I had to become full-time messengers of data, just to collate our planning documents and keep them up-to-date.”
“On Toddle, our planners were updated automatically and we also had access to real-time curriculum analytics that helped inform our planning. When we found the technology that could adapt to the way we worked, instead of the other way around, that was half the battle won for our school!”
“Unit planning turned from being an after-effect to the way forward for us”
Toddle’s planners helped the teachers at GEMS, Al Khail develop a shared, deeper understanding of their unit plans. Mark explains, “On Google, our unit planner was just a series of empty boxes. We had to organise all our curriculum maps, lesson plans, and resources – from scratch, all within those boxes. Apart from being tedious, the process was unrewarding – we hardly ever felt like revisiting the planner for reflection. As a result, planning became more of an inevitable after-effect at our school. Our teachers often got to the planner only after they had finished teaching a unit, and filled in the bare minimum – we had no more than 1-2 pages of information on a unit.
“On the other hand, Toddle’s planners helped us break down the planning process and guided us through it. Right at the beginning, there were visual prompts that helped us set the learning goals and bigger ideas for the unit. In the next sections, our teachers could use inbuilt tools to design learning plans and assessments targeted towards those goals. The highlight for us was the ability to add student submissions as evidence within the planner, making it a fantastic reflective tool. These changes resulted in our teachers committing their heart and soul to the planning process!”
“Curriculum coordinators turned from data engineers to thought partners!”
While planning on Google suite, the leadership team at GEMS, Al Khail had to manually dig through multiple documents to derive curriculum insights. Mark recalls, “When teachers planned on Google Docs, our other curriculum coordinator and I had to turn into data engineers and maintain additional spreadsheets just to track which concepts were covered, and what skills got addressed. We quickly realised that we couldn’t do it all. The more we tracked, the more we became data managers constantly trying to keep everything updated. We spent less time being curriculum coordinators. We needed a change.”
“With Toddle’s planners, I could access curriculum analytics across grade levels at the click of a button. Every time a teacher made changes to a unit plan, these analytics were updated automatically. Access to such real-time curriculum analytics saved our leadership team at least 2 hours every day and helped shift our focus from updating the planners to analysing and reflecting on them as a team.”
Mark goes on to share, “Another game-changing analytic that I had not seen in any other platform was the provision to track the big ideas and goals across each lesson plan. This way, the larger goals of the unit were always at the top of our minds, and we created our lesson plans more intentionally.
“New teachers wore confident smiles during our planning meetings”
The inbuilt curriculum-specific and planning-oriented guidance in Toddle’s planners helped the new teachers at GEMS, Al Khail work independently and contribute equally to the planning process. Mark shares, “Creating unit plans on Google docs required an in-depth understanding of standards and practices, which was not always the case for some of us. Our new teachers would often feel overwhelmed by the number of empty boxes they needed to fill in. For their first few units, they had to either refer to multiple sources of information, or rely on more experienced teachers and coordinators just to navigate the planning process.
With Toddle, our new teachers were able to work independently because at every step there were helpful examples, visual prompts, and guidelines. I saw our new teachers wear confident smiles during our collaborative meetings, and I couldn’t be happier!”
Mark’s message for school leaders using the Google Suite
Toddle is an all-in-one teaching-learning platform. Loved by 40,000+ educators around the world, Toddle empowers teachers to work together and better for curriculum planning, student portfolios, assessments, reports, and family communication – all from one intuitive interface!