My IB Economics Online PD Workshop…

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Today marks the end of my first ver online IB PD workshop! It was a workshop that consisted of four separate modules, each module running for one week. I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop, particularly how it was structured as well as the learning activities that we were assigned.

The first week focused mostly on introducing the IB DP Economics Course Guide and Syllabus, and getting us as teachers to reflect on the IB Philosphy and the IB Learner Profile.

The second week focused more on the Syllabus content, and making us become more familiar with the four sections of the syllabus through a Jigsaw activity where we were divided into four groups and each group had to summarize the main outcomes of their assigned section for the other groups. There were also lots of other discussions about teaching strategies and tools.

The third week focused on the Assessment: internal as well as external. We had to create a Wiki summarizing the main expectations of external assessment, as well as mark sample papers and compare our marks to the Examiner’s marks. We were also assigned to create an outline for a sample IA commentary and find suitable articles for IAs.

The last week focused mainly on resourcing the IB DP Economics classroom, and explored different resources: textbooks, e-books, Web 2.0 tools, YouTube videos and many more!

I have to admit I enjoy online PD a lot more than face-to-face PD workshops, because I prefer to work at my own pace and I have the self-discipline and self-motivation to stay on top of the workshop assignments and activities. Also, I used this online PD workshop as a chance to look up several other Economics teachers on Twitter and LinkedIn and to connect with them, so I also built a PLN with which I can collaborate in the future!

My Learning Portfolio from the Online PD Wokshop

My assessment workflow in drama: AirDrop + iDoceo…

So, I previously wrote about iDoceo’s new rubric update, and how I was excited to start using it!

Well, now I can safely say I’ve used it, and I love it! So, I trialed it with my Grade 7 and Grade 8 end-of-year drama assessments, where they had to create a short script for a ‘fable/fairy-tale mix-up’, rehearse it and perform it in front of the class. I created the rubric on iDoceo, took a screenshot and shared it with the classes at the beginning of the task so that the students had an idea what is expected from them.

The rubric was designed to assess two ‘process criteria’: ‘Groupwork’ and ‘Use of rehearsal time’, and two ‘product criteria’: ‘Script’ and ‘Performance’. The rubric also had two criteria that were assessed for the whole group: ‘Script’ and ‘Use of rehearsal time’, and two individual criteria: ‘Performance’ and ‘Groupwork’.

As the students worked on the task (which took a few lessons), I would assess each criterion at the appropriate time: ‘Script’ was recorded on the rubric in iDoceo as soon as I had read their script, ‘Use of rehearsal time’ and ‘Groupwork’ I had assessed during the rehearsal period based on my observations of how the group members interact and rehearse’, and finally ‘Performance’ I would assess as the students performed their scenes.

Then I would hold a conference with each student where I would AirDrop them a screenshot of their assessed rubric, which they would then insert into their Portfolio in Book Creator. We would then record a short voice note where we discuss how they felt about the task and I give them one positive comment and one useful suggestion for improvement in future performances.

Apps/features used in this assessment workflow: iDoceo + AirDrop + Book Creator…


iDoceo keeps getting better!


OH MY GOD! Just when you think iDoceo can’t get any better, it does! I know I talk a lot about iDoceo and how much I love it, you can read this post here as evidence, or refer to this page here.

So, iDoceo is basically what I would describe as a ‘Swiss army-knife’ of tools for a typical teacher: lesson planner, calendar, to-do-list, gradebook, timer, seating-planner, random student-selector, resource-library, voice-note recorder, photo/video-evidence-capturer and so much more!

But when I updated my iDoceo on my iPad yesterday, I discovered something wonderful! The new update includes a RUBRIC tool, which integrates seamlessly with the Gradebook… As a teacher using iDoceo, now you can create/import rubrics and grade/assess projects using those rubrics right there on the app… The results will then be added and recorded as a column in the Gradebook!

Here’s a short video of me talking about this new tool, as well as showing how I too am still learning to use it:


Explain Everything literally helps me explain everything!

So, I wrote earlier about flipping my business classroom using EduCanon (now called However, I would not have been able to actually flip my classroom without this super-awesome tool on my iPad: Explain Everything!

Basically, Explain Everything is an iPad app that turns your iPad into an interactive whiteboard where you can draw, doodle, add text, add images, add shapes, record your voice, and export the whole project as a PDF or as a video file to upload elsewhere! It’s amazing…

I’m currently working on building a library of instructional videos for my IB Economics classes next year. It’s a big project, but I’m enjoying every step. These videos are following the IB Syllabus in terms of learning outcomes as well as order of delivery, so I will integrate them with my iTunes U course for IB Economics next year.

Here are the links to playlists of videos I created for teaching the different concepts under the topic of ‘Demand & Supply‘ and the topic of ‘Elasticity‘.

Some tips for using Explain Everything to create instructional videos:

1- Make it visual and try to use text sparingly => your voice should do most of the ‘explaining’.

2- Make it short and sweet => 5-12 minutes is reasonable.

3- Use colors and shapes.

4- Record using a microphone in a quiet area => I just use my iPhone headphones which include a good mic.

5- Start the video by mentioning what the video is about and its learning outcomes.

6- Label each video succinctly and carefully so it’s easy to identify its focus.

7- Be real in the video => don’t be afraid to use humor and show your real personality.


If you have not yet used Explain Everything, I suggest you go give it a try! Enjoy 🙂


A very successful musical production!

So, it’s been almost a month since opening and closing nights, and it took me that long to recover and get to writing this post!

On February 16th and 17th, we had our school musical production ‘Friday Knight Fever’, a comedy musical tribute to the 1970s and, more importantly, a tribute to disco!

It was a great team effort! I was blessed with a fantastic musical director, Anne, who I absolutely loved working with! I also loved co-choreographing the show with the lovely Karen! Directing a musical is often daunting for me, but this year’s team made it much easier! Thank you Anne, Karen, Scott, Lizzy, Tayler, Rob, Paul, Kevin, Jon, and Bill!

More importantly, I had a blast working with these students! Oh, and here’s a dance cameo Karen and I inserted for ourselves! Yeah I’m the guy with the white suit, pink shirt, and pink hat with disco lights!


Flipping my Business classroom!

I have always used ‘screencasts’ in my classes ever since I purchased my very first iPad. I remember back in the good ol’days (2011 :P), when I purchased my first iPad 2 and used the ‘ShowMe‘ app to create revision screencasts for my humanities students and my drama classes too (examples of which can be found here:

Then I came across ExplainEverything, which is basically an interactive whiteboard on steroids! I would import my PowerPoints into the app, and annotate over them while recording my voice, then export the videos for students to revise, and make them accessible via Edmodo or iTunesU or whatever LMS I was using at the time.

However, I have always wanted to flip my classroom. I have always wanted to create these screencasts to actually teach the content, as opposed to just revise content already taught in class. I was just scared. I was worried the students wouldn’t watch the videos. I was worried they wouldn’t understand. I was worried if I added a Google Form quiz or some tool for formative assessment that they just wouldn’t do it. I had many worries and many fears!

Then I came across! I fell in love!

EduCanon allows you to embed quiz questions in your videos, whether multiple choice or true/false, or short-answer, or fill-in-the-blank, or even just reflective pauses! My favorite thing about it: it integrates seamlessly with Edmodo, and you can import your classes directly from Edmodo, no additional student sign-up required (one less password for those password-burdened teens to remember!).

Basically, I still use ExplainEverything to create my screencasts, then upload them onto my Youtube channel. I would then use the Youtube link to import the video into EduCanon and voila: interactive video with embedded formative assessment done! I would then just notify the students that the new video is up and sit with my popcorn in front of the screen monitoring their grades (as I have nothing better to do :P).

Here is an example of one of my video lessons:

iDoceo: work smarter, not harder?


So, up until this current academic year, I have always taught drama in schools that use a ‘rotations’ system. This means that in Grades 7 & 8, where drama is compulsory, the subject would be timetabled for one term only per class, so that the classes ‘rotate’ around the Arts, Music and Design/Tech subjects. So, the most number of grade 7 classes I had at a time has been two, and the same for grade 8.

However, this year the school decided to get rid of the ‘rotations’ system, and timetable every class for the whole year, just less frequently. So instead of seeing a Grade 7 class for one term but three doubles a fortnight (we have fortnight-timetables), I would see all Grade 7 classes for the whole year for one double-period a fortnight, which means I teach them for a longer time period just less intensively.

One of the challenges that new system brought for me was that automatically the number of classes I had to teach effectively doubled (last year I had 8 classes maximum per term, this year I have 16!). Additionally, suddenly it became a real challenge to stay organised and on-top of each class’ lesson-planning, assessment and documentation.

That was until I was introduced to iDoceo… Now I don’t work for iDoceo and I do not receive a commission for what-effectively-sounds-like-a-promotion, but truly iDoceo changed my life! OK, I may be a little bit melodramatic there (I’m a drama teacher so I’m allowed), but seriously iDoceo made my job much much easier! IDoceo is essentially a Swiss-army knife for teachers, it’s a lesson-planner, calendar, to-do-list, gradebook, seating plan organiser, class-notes-collector and resource folder all in ONE APP! Wow!

It takes a hell of a lot of time to set up initially (took me a whole weekend), but once it’s set up it can be pretty amazing! Here are some of the ways I use iDoceo to stay organised:

  1. The ‘Planner’


One of the biggest advantages of the iDoceo planner is that it is fully customisable: days of working week (we work Sunday to Thursday), times of periods/lessons, week numbers in each term etc… Once I import all my class lists and enter my timetable in the ‘Schedule’, the ‘Planner’ is good to go! I love that I can see a visual snapshot of all my lessons for the week at once, and also pinch the screen outwards to zoom and make it look bigger, or pinch it inwards to make it fit on the screen. The planner can also be viewed in weekly or daily mode.

2- The ‘Classes’ Tab

Once you tap on the ‘Classes’ tab, this is where all the magic happens! After setting up your classes, this is what you see:


As shown in the image, you can see the I have two ‘Pinboards’ for collecting resources called ‘Drama Warmups’ and ‘Friday Knight Fever’ (that’s our musical production for this year), I also have two ‘Notebooks’: one for documenting ‘PD/Trainings’, and one for documenting ‘Meetings’. Then I have all my classes listed, and each class has a different colour. At the right is my ‘Reminders’ list.

So, let’s tap on a class:

I love the iDoceo ‘Gradebook’! You can create as many columns and tabs as you want, you can use numbers, text and icons like cute smiley faces! You can also perform calculations, just like an Excel spreadsheet!


The iDoceo ‘Timeline’ tab allows you to see all your lesson-planning for that specific class as a timeline! You can also attach pretty much anything, my favourites are: voice notes to reflect on how the lesson went, and full integration with GoogleDrive and Dropbox so I can attach my PDF worksheets and PowerPoint presentations etc…

The ‘Gradebook’ feature in iDoceo also allows creating ‘Attendance’ columns, which is really most useful for me during rehearsals for our musical production this year! 


In the iDoceo ‘Classes’ tab, each class also has a ‘Diary’ where I use to reflect on my lessons or rehearsals for the production! Again you can attach voice notes and anything from GoogleDrive/Dropbox.


The ‘Seating Plan’ feature is also really cool. The seating plan is automatically populated with the students’ names once you import the class-list, then you just drag and drop where you want them to sit. There’s also a cool ‘random-picker’ feature which can be useful for discussions in my Business Studies classes.


The last feature of the ‘Classes’ tab is the ‘Pin Board’. You can pin pretty much anything on the pin board: files from GoogleDrive/Dropbox, photos from camera roll, videos, links, voice notes and much more. It’s really a great resource collection-board for each class!

Lastly, because iDoceo allows you to create separate ‘Notebooks’, not just within ‘Classes’, I have created a ‘PD/Trainings’ and a ‘Meetings’ notebook to document my PD and notes from meetings. My favourite feature is the cool icons I can use to categorise my PD and meetings, as I highlighted below:


So ladies & gentlemen, I basically use iDoceo as my lesson-planner, class resource folder, attendance-checker, gradebook, notebooks for notes/reflections about classes, notebooks for documenting PD and meetings, seating plans organiser, student random-picker, class pin-board, and so much more! I told you it really is a Swiss Army-Knife of tools for helping a teacher stay organised and basically work smarter, not harder!