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PYP exhibition and using an online learning management system

Suzanne Tomlinson is a PYP Coordinator currently working at The International School of Belgrade, Serbia

Suzanne Tomlinson is a PYP Coordinator currently working at The International School of Belgrade, Serbia

Have you ever wondered about using an online learning management system for your PYP exhibition? The International School of Belgrade, Serbia experimented with such a platform so here are some considerations.

First of all, ask yourselves questions to clarify your purpose!

  • Are you hoping that this use of technology will transform your students’ exhibition experience?
  • Will the students collaborate with each other, their teachers, mentors and their wider community because of this technology?
  • Will using this technology lead to a broader range of perspectives; developing international mindedness?


We encountered three key challenges:

1.      Creating whole school community support for the project:

Working regularly with students, parents, administrators, exhibition teachers and mentors, helped build support for the project.

Above all, we wanted to maintain the integrity of the exhibition. Starting early in the year using platform functions meant not overwhelming students during their exhibition.

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2.     Developing a shared understanding of collaboration:

We all needed a clearer definition, so students and teachers started the year reviewing, redefining and practicing collaboration.

The chart below shows ways to facilitate collaboration according to a new research paper (Education Research Center at Texas A&M University, (2013)).

image 3

Developing and Assessing Students’ Collaboration in the IB Programme. Texas: Texas A & M University, Appendix H, p. 166.


Collaboration was practiced in developing group central ideas, lines of inquiry and the ensuing conceptual questions. Parent and teacher mentors modeled collaborative behaviour during research.

3.     Platform functionality opportunities and challenges:

Pre-assessment of students’ and teachers’ current use of technology is essential. What are the comfort and competence levels?

The school’s context is also important. What are the constraints?

Having coordinator time to work with each set of stakeholders to build capacity and confidence was also necessary.

We found some functions on our platform that really augmented learning and others that were a struggle. It is important to know how well the platform you select provides for your needs. Do you want to embed third party applications? What functions would you find useful? Can the students work independently with the platform and can the results be used to gather data for self, peer and teacher assessment?

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We would love to know your story!

Have you experienced a journey of your own that you could share?

Suzanne is a PYP workshop leader and has taught throughout IBAEM and IBAP regions as a classroom teacher, Early Years Coordinator and PYP Coordinator. Suzanne was most recently involved in an experimental trial, organized by the IB, using an Online Learning Management System to organize the exhibition, in collaboration with other schools in the IBAEM region.


5 Responses to PYP exhibition and using an online learning management system

  1. Tara Mitchell 14 October 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    Perfect timing for me with this post – we are about to embark on our Exhibition.
    I am very interested in student’s completing their reflection journals online and for them to be interactive with teachers, parents, etc…
    What LMS did you use?

  2. Sonali Roy 15 October 2014 at 9:37 am #


    I think it’s a great way to involve all stake-holders to know the exhibition process in a better way and give chance to the students to showcase their learning and the rigorous use of various tools and methods in the process.

    Our PYP Exhibition group, give updates in the form of Daily News to keep the wider community informed about their learning.

  3. Bart Miller 16 October 2014 at 5:06 am #

    My school is an IB PYP candidate school, expecting our authorization visit soon.

    Last spring, my sixth grade class staged an exhibition using individual Wikis as ‘home bases’, organized according to the elements of the PYP, with embedded photos and video reflections, links to blog posts, project rubrics, and other learning artifacts.

    Publishing the inquiry process had intrinsic benefits, but the students needed more experience using the digital tools prior to beginning their projects in order to maximize their effectiveness. In other words, during exhibition, they shouldn’t need to learn how to use new tools.

    I blogged about the management elements of my exhibition experience in the post, Exhibition: PBL To The Max! (

  4. Suzanne 28 October 2014 at 10:01 am #

    Hi Tara,
    We used It’s Learning. We had to do lots of adapting but the e-portfolio/blogs worked well and the project pages for the kids were amazing. We are using it again this year but simplifying our process. I can tell you more if you would like to email me.
    [email protected]

  5. Carolyn 21 February 2018 at 4:39 am #

    Hi Suzanne,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I am curious how the online system worked. Here in Mongolia the internet is quite slow so I have abandoned the idea of Google sites but am looking at Seesaw and now thanks to you It’s Learning. Was it very slow and heavy as a website?

    Thanks in advance,

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