On Saturday, June 7, we hosted our first-ever ManageBac User Group Conference at Western International School of Shanghai (WISS). We were thrilled to welcome over 40 participants from 18 different IB World Schools, many of whom traveled from other cities in China to join the one-day conference and meet their peers.
After opening remarks from ManageBac, five of our existing schools presented their experiences from across the IB continuum, followed by discussion groups and an open hands-on workshop. The day concluded with a networking event.
The presentations featured:
- Wayne Voogt (IT Support Officer) and Shelley Bragg (Director of Marketing) from WISS: As a full IB school with 750 students in K-12, WISS was careful about the switch to a new system and formed a pilot group in 2011 to lead implementation. The team included members from the technology team, heads of school, coordinators and teaching staff. WISS has also started using OpenApply and InterSIS, with the goal of moving to a fully integrated school management system.
- Jessamine Koenig (DP Coordinator & High School Vice Principal) from Shanghai Community International School: Jessamine focused on the process of moving from ManageBac for the CAS programme to using the system fully across the Diploma Core, including for curriculum planning and classroom management, noting that heavy encouragement comes from their students, who are keen on having all information on one system.
- Hugo Drummond (Head of Middle School & Deputy Head) from Utahloy International School Guangzhou: Based on his own experiences, Hugo advocated for a long transition period for staff. He took 6 to 12 months for the system transition, using ManageBac first for curriculum planning, then gradebook and reporting, and lastly moving to attendance. He attributed successful implementation to involving teachers with IT experience from the very beginning, as they helped bring other teachers onboard.
- Iain Riley (Grade 5 Coordinator) from Shanghai United International School: Iain and his colleagues chose ManageBac for its ability to link teachers, students and parents without paperwork and at an affordable price. Iain noted adopting ManageBac was a no brainer, as “curriculum planning is a dream.” In contrast to Hugo’s more gradual approach, Iain successfully launched ManageBac during the PYP Exhibition week.
- Jason Borovick (IT/ICT Manager) from Changchun American International School: As CAIS was working hard to obtain authorization as an IB world school several years ago, the school made a critical technical decision to implement ManageBac. Jason noted that achieving buy-in from teachers was also key to the system’s success, and shared a letter from IB staff which showed ManageBac implementation directly contributed to the school’s successful authorization last year. CAIS recently also become an iPad school, which allows students & teachers to use the ManageBac iOS app.
The training workshops held in the afternoon were led by speakers and ManageBac support staff. In summary, recommended advice shared for effective implementation included:
- involving the school technology team to assist with setup and ensuring smooth access to the system for all users within the school,
- delegating one or more ManageBac representatives internally to train teachers and consolidate feedback back to the ManageBac support team,
- committing time for parent training, especially if language barriers prevent parents from logging in.
We had a wonderful time connecting with our schools in China! To learn more about the conference, download the programme here:
And save the dates for our upcoming user group conferences!