On Tuesday, July 29, we hosted our second ManageBac User Group Conference at Mercedes College in Adelaide, Australia. We were thrilled to welcome over 40 participants from more than 24 different IB World Schools across Australia and New Zealand.
The morning began with a warm welcome by the Head of Middle School at Mercedes College, Paul Wadsworth. The keynote address was given by the school’s MYP Coordinator Ashley Coats, who is one of ManageBac’s greatest advocates and a key supporter of IB World Schools in Australia. ManageBac was part of Mercedes College’s move towards technology-enriched learning environments. Since implementing the system three years ago, the school now uses ManageBac to manage their full IB continuum, non-IB SACE curriculum, as well as reporting. It is also the main source of communication with staff, students, and parents.
After an update from ManageBac staff on the latest updates, conference participants split into programme-specific groups where they heard from experienced coordinators on best practices, challenges (& solutions), and specific topics dealing with Australian curriculum.
The presentations featured:
- [DP] Fiona Cock (Assistant Principal & DP Coordinator) at Sophia Mundi Steiner School: The school searched for a system that was user-friendly, IB-integrated, and with real-time teacher and student communication. With a clear school vision on the promising possibilities of the system and perseverance to change the culture in preparation for the future of IB and Australian education, the school began using ManageBac three years ago to manage their Diploma Programme, reports and attendance.
- [MYP] Ashley Coats (MYP Coordinator) at Mercedes College: In addition to his Keynote, Ashley showcased the Mercedes account and opened the floor to MYP Q&A on system implementation across all user groups. ManageBac promoted accountability through a secure environment that was easily accessible and IB integrated. As a key contributor to the evolving IB MYP curriculum in Australia, Ashley is most impressed with prompt IB updates (i.e. MYP Next Chapter) and willingness to continually improve the system for its customers.
- [PYP] Liz Black (PYP and MYP Coordinator), Chris Gully (PYP Teacher) and Dave Shaw (Assistant Leader in ICT) at Coromandel Valley Primary School: The school has been using ManageBac for one year, and are a great example of the healthy growth of Australian PYP schools beginning to adopt online platforms in recent years. In particular, they shared the importance of partaking in a longer trial period to allow adequate time to assess the benefits of the system, as well as build in-school experts who could confidently facilitate the buy-in of teachers. iPads have since been introduced, which has greatly complemented their use of ManageBac. They are set to generate their first set of reports at the end of the year.
The afternoon focused on programme-specific, hands-on training and discussion groups lead by the above-mentioned speakers. Robert Erwin (Director of Learning Technologies) at Werribee Secondary College and Shane Murphy (PYP Coordinator) at Mercedes College also led group discussions.
The day concluded with a networking event.
In summary, recommended advice shared for effective implementation included:
- Clear expectations
- Shared vision
- In-school champions who can drive staff buy-in.
- In-school support team who are willing to make themselves available.
- Incorporating ManageBac training into PD days
- Reaching out to local IB networks
- Making use of the ManageBac support team and unlimited complimentary online training
We had a great time connecting with our schools in Australia! To learn more about the conference, download the programme here:
And save the dates for our upcoming user group conferences!