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 PYP 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 other curriculum coordinator 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”
Designed specially for the PYP, 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 learning outcomes, central ideas, lines of inquiry, lesson plans, and resources – all from scratch, all within those boxes. As well as being tedious, the process was not rewarding either – 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 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 experiences and assessments targeted towards those goals. The highlight for us was the ability to add student submissions as evidences within the planner, making it a fantastic reflective tool. These changes resulted in our teachers committing 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 ATL skills, learner profile attributes, and key concepts our teachers were covering. We realised quickly 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 everyday, 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 PYP elements for each learning experience. This way, the larger goals of the unit were always at the top of our minds, and we planned our learning experiences more intentionally.
“New teachers wore confident smiles during our planning meetings”
The inbuilt IB 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 the PYP, 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 have 10-12 IB documents spread out, or rely on more experienced teachers and coordinators just to navigate the planner.
With Toddle, our new teachers were able to work independently because at every step there were examples, visual prompts, guiding questions, and IB guidelines that helped them get familiar with all the PYP elements. 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 the leading teaching-learning platform for IB PYP, MYP & DP schools worldwide. 40,000+ educators across 1500+ schools from 100+ countries love Toddle. Developed by experienced educators, Toddle streamlines planning, portfolios, assessments, reports, and online learning – all from one intuitive interface. Through Toddle Community, educators from around the world can collaborate with each other for sharing best practices and teaching-learning resources.
Book a demo with us today to discover why thousands of schools love Toddle. You can book it here.