Founded in 1992, Nanjing International School (NIS) holds the distinction of being the oldest international school in Nanjing. The school has embraced a comprehensive digital transformation to enhance its educational offerings. As the first IB Continuum School in China, NlS prepares students from Pre-K to Grade 12 to succeed on the global stage in an ever-changing world using a comprehensive approach that combines inclusive, inquiry-driven education and a rich co-curricular programme.
Building a Smart Campus
Enabling the digital transformation is ManageBac, augmented by OpenApply and SchoolsBuddy, which collectively streamline teaching & learning, admissions, ECA management, transportation, and communication.
While ManageBac forms the core of Nanjing International School’s digital ecosystem, it is effectively complemented by Veracross, SeeSaw and Office 365. Systems integration extends to syncing data with Turnitin, BridgeU, and Kognity. Technical consultants have also bridged OpenApply and Veracross, enhancing data flow and planning for further system integrations. The IXL system’s integration with MAP customises learning plans, with scores captured by Consilience. ManageBac’s API (application programming interface) further synchronises data for personalised teaching insights.
Maximising the School’s Potential for Excellence
A key strength of ManageBac at Nanjing International School is its integration capabilities, exemplified by FariaOne’s comprehensive linking of ManageBac, OpenApply, and SchoolsBuddy. ManageBac’s support role in the school’s pursuit of educational excellence is multifaceted.
In the teaching department, a collaborative spirit thrives as teachers utilise ManageBac for curriculum development. “We’ve found the built-in resources in ManageBac to be invaluable, especially when it comes to searching, viewing, archiving and updating our unit lesson plans annually. It simplifies accessing and refining our curriculum.” Beyond planning, there are key features that the teaching department at NIS incorporate into their job routine.
Through the ManageBac platform, teachers also assign homework online, track submission progress, and grade assignments. “The integration with IB assessment standards and tools like Turnitin has transformed our assessment process,” Cindy notes, touting the usefulness of annotation tools such as highlighting, comments, and strikethrough for effective assessment feedback.
The platform plays a crucial role in class communication and parent engagement. ManageBac’s centralised system has been a game-changer for maintaining transparent communication with parents. “This centralisation ensures all communication records are consolidated, enhancing traceability and management,” says Cindy.
For managing student projects, the CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) and SA (Service as Action) modules enable teachers to work collaboratively with students to develop their skills. Students actively engage in the projects, creating activities, posting reflections, and recording interviews. “Our students have become more independent and reflective, thanks to these modules,” Cindy observes. This growth in independence and reflection is not only evident in their project work but also captured in their Student Portfolios.
The Student Portfolios record students’ academic and project performance as well as attendance during their time at school. The Report Cards and Transcripts modules provide a summary of a student’s performance at a specific stage. This approach ensures that every aspect of a student’s development, from project involvement to academic progress, is meticulously documented.
In 2022, the admissions department has also embraced digital transformation by implementing OpenApply to manage application materials, track application progress/processes, and facilitate home-school communication. “OpenApply has streamlined our admissions process remarkably. This year, all enrolled parents have been using OpenApply to review and update their family and child’s information, ensuring data accuracy.” Looking ahead, the school plans to use OpenApply to manage re-enrollments. The Activity Management and Parent Teacher Conferences modules in SchoolsBuddy are also utilised in NIS’s daily operations, further demonstrating the comprehensive movement toward digitising processes throughout the school.
Effective Implementation and School Community Engagement
Introducing and implementing a new system and getting everyone on the same page is not a walk in the park. Below is a list of best practices that Nanjing International School adopted to facilitate the introduction and effective implementation of new systems.
- Conduct research to understand the specific needs and requirements that stakeholders hope to fulfil through the new system. Subsequently, provide pinpointed training based on the research findings.
- Encourage teachers to make use of the demo account to explore different features/modules from various user perspectives.
- Roll out training in stages, clearly defining the objectives and content for each phase of training.
- Establish a top-down management approach for supervision. For example, attendance taking is required for each training session, thus the management team can ensure that teachers and coordinators are taking an active part in the training.
- Establish an effective training follow-up plan, allowing sufficient time for teachers to learn and practice in test class, track the learning progress, and assign tasks to evaluate the learning outcomes.
- Develop guides, manuals, and instructional videos addressing frequently asked questions and demonstrating commonly used features.
As we reflect on the remarkable transformation Nanjing International School has undergone by integrating digital solutions like ManageBac, OpenApply, and SchoolsBuddy, it’s clear that the journey towards educational excellence is ongoing and dynamic. NIS’s commitment to leveraging technology for educational advancement ushers in a future in which the school not only maintains its standard of excellence, but also sets new benchmarks in international education.