Branksome Hall Asia delivers technology through the IB Advantage

By Terry McAdams, Director of Learning Technologies

The continual evolution of digital technologies poses many transformative societal challenges. Not least, teaching our children the skills they need to thrive in an environment that we can not yet envision. Fortunately, the International Baccalaureate (IB) is an ideal framework to provide learners with the technological and thinking skills needed to flourish in the 21st Century. 

At Branksome Hall Asia we have created a technology framework that is embedded in the Junior School (PYP), Middle School (MYP), and Senior School (DP) programs. The IB framework ensures that our students develop the thinking skills necessary for success in their future careers. Through its inquiry-based program, Branksome Hall Asia places significant emphasis on ‘Design Thinking’, ‘Computational Thinking’, and ‘Scientific Thinking’; skills identified by the IB as essential for future learners.

Design Thinking is a collaborative process for creative problem solving that utilizes the cognitive, strategic and practical processes through which design concepts are developed. Computational Thinking is a set of problem-solving methods that express problems and their solutions in ways that can be executed by a computer. Scientific Thinking is a set of reasoning processes that permeate the field of experimental Science. 
 
At Branksome Hall Asia, we are fortunate to have several faculty members who are experts in design thinking, computational thinking, and scientific thinking. They have run workshops for their colleagues to ensure that our teachers are familiar with these important concepts. Not only does our curriculum ensure these important skills are embedded and delivered in our taught curriculum, our students have access to a range of technologies in the JS Makerspace and MS/SS Makerspace areas.
 
The IB places significant emphasis on technology integration and subsequently commissioned a longitudinal research project entitled “The Integration of Technology in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program”. One of the key findings from this study was that personal digital devices provided the most striking examples of innovative practice. Given the plethora of interactive applications available on digital devices and the ability to broadcast to a large screen there are many examples of how a correctly implemented one-to-one device program can be beneficial for learning. The study made note of using  an interactive simulation that was used to illustrate projectile motion in a physics lesson. Technology and inquiry-based learning complement each other and at the heart of the IB program is inquiry-based learning that lends itself to creative opportunities.
 
The mere presence of technology in the classroom does not signify effective use. A technology device is merely a tool, not a learning experience. Thus, it is our priority to ensure that all staff are given adequate training on the use of technology to enhance learning. Since we employ a one-to-one device policy, all of our students from JKPrep to G12 are given numerous opportunities for innovation and creativity. This creativity can be seen in their daily lessons but is also evidenced through our interdisciplinary units.  
 
There is a technological advantage to delivering the IB program and, through high quality teaching and access to technology, we ensure that Branksome Hall Asia students are given the skills necessary to make use of the exciting disruptive technologies that they will encounter after they graduate.