Brain-storming a language activity and need an external resource to facilitate the learning? Or are you an inventive teacher who wishes to easily share some of your own resources? With the increased need for digital learning content due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, the IB has developed a new resource that allows educators to share free online resources by topic with the IB Community conveniently. You can check out and share resources on IB Webliography, the IB’s curated resource companion here.
Back when I was in college, I would frown upon teachers who would share syllabi that only included a list of books and activities for the semester that I was sure was the exact same list shared with the previous year and the five years before that. Even back then I wondered: Couldn’t the syllabus be more connected to our class specifically? Wasn’t there a teacher group of some sort in which teachers could share new ideas or revisit and update their activities? As the world changes and people change, wouldn’t it make sense to have it all up to date each year?
When I became a teacher, I was lucky enough to have taught in a co-teaching environment with a teaching partner that had over 15 years of teaching experience. This teacher worked wonders with the art of provocations. He would have the coolest and latest videos, images, texts and discussion topics to begin any conversation. He believed assessments and rubrics had to be collaboratively built between teachers and students and would explain the benefits of it each time around. He would also have effective strategies for co-constructing central ideas and lines of inquiry with the students, which fully allowed for their interests to be highlighted. The picture I’m trying to paint is that I, as a new teacher, was in the perfect learning environment. I learned more in a day at work than I had learned in months in university. Hands-on practical learning was a big game-changer in my educator journey.
“It was incredible to see how a piece of my advice found its way overseas”.
As I reflected on my practices and the experience I was having, I thought of starting my own digital page to not only facilitate both my teaching and learning practices but also to document and inspire anyone who could possibly take advantage of what I was sharing. My goal was to make my learning journey visible, so I created an Instagram account with the intention of keeping track of resources, strategies and materials I came across. These were ideas I wanted to keep and use at a later date―valuable and quality resources that I wished to make accessible whenever I needed it. Not long after, I found out my sharing was truly inspiring others―a video activity that was successful with my students was then replicated in another class from across the globe. Never before had I been surrounded by such a collaborative community of educators. It was incredible to see how a piece of my advice found its way overseas.
After a little over a year of creating educational content and being connected to a community of motivational educators in an online platform, I really got to understand the importance of shared advice and resources. Although I consider it a go-to for amazing and inspiring educational material, it can be tricky when being specific and targeting a particular lesson content or a provocation video for a specific transdisciplinary theme.
So, when I first heard of a digital resource library, which is a result of a collaboration between the IB and IB educators around the world, it was transformational. The IB Webliography is a place where educators get to be inventive, imaginative, innovative in the content they share while still holding a high-quality level of content that is both international and transdisciplinary. It is easy to find the relevant resources you’re looking for by course or programme.
“Knowing there is a shared digital environment for such purpose, eases and facilitates my teaching and learning experience”
You can find activities that are applied to our everyday lives (in a world where most of us are taking a day at a time and everything changes in the blink of an eye) and that respect students’ voice and choice. It’s quite comforting to know you are not alone in search of the best resources and that someone may have developed or shared the exact guide or project that gives your students another angle for inquiry. This platform envisions the gathering and knowledge-sharing of valuable and tested resources from educators from all over the world. As a Primary Years Programme (PYP) educator I invite you to take a look at and contribute to the information already available by educators in your place.
With all the technology that is available to us, we have to be more critical of where to find what we need. Educators should be constantly updating and building upon their plans, especially to develop student agency, in which the students play a major part in taking responsibility for their learning, at a time when face-to face interaction isn’t always possible. Knowing there is a shared digital environment for such purpose, eases and facilitates my teaching and learning experience, as it could for you.
Rebecca Vasconcelos is an international teacher, currently teaching in the Primary Years Programme (PYP). She completed the Middle Years Programme (MYP) at Shanghai Singapore International School in Shanghai—China, continued her studies in U.S. and Brazilian high schools and is now a Master in Education. When not involving her students in decisions about their learning through authentic inquiries, you may find her gathering friends for a game evening on weekends. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.