Taking Tech Integration Abroad with Amber Acosta, International Tech Integrationist


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  • Sean

Hello and welcome to another edition of the K-12 Tech Podcast. My name is Sean. I am your host for today and probably the future. I do have a special guest with us today coming from overseas. It’s currently probably a 14 hour difference that we’re talking right now. Amber Acosta is joining us and she is over in India. And we are going to get an international perspective today on tech in the education world and how things are probably much different than here in the U.S. So, Amber, I’m going to give you the floor, kind of introduce yourself. How did you get over there and how do you get into the tech world in in India?

  • Amber

Sure. So, yeah, that’s that’s kind of a long story, but I’m happy to tell about that.

So I’m right now, the elementary technology integration is and I’m also head of department for K through 12 for ICT and Design Technology, the Canadian International School in Bangalore, India. And that’s kind of in South India for people who aren’t really familiar with the geography. We have great weather here all year round and it’s a great place to travel Southeast Asia. So that’s where I am and that’s the school I’m at. And I started international teaching about, I would say, about 15 years ago, and it seems like a really long time. I can’t even remember teaching in the States since it’s been so long for me.

But I’m from Connecticut originally and I got my master’s degree in education from there Fairfiled University, sorry, Sacred Heart University in Fairfield. And I then I had met my husband and he is actually from Egypt and we, we were living in the States for a while and then we decided to move back to Egypt. And that’s when I started international teaching for the most part, and I had a short stint earlier after college, but that’s when I really got into international schools and we decided we’d make a jump there. And actually my husband started teaching with me too, at the American International School of Egypt. That was the second school that in Egypt and he joined. And so he’s also an international education as well.

So after Egypt, we decided to move on to Bahrain. So we were there in Bahrain and then just last year we decided to move again and so now we’re in India and that’s kind of how I’ve made it here. And I originally started as a classroom teacher in elementary, and I did that for almost three years and I actually am really glad I started out as that because doing tech integration, it’s really important that you understand the inner workings of a classroom and instruction and curriculum and all of those things to be able to make an impact. So I’m really glad that I started out with that first.

And then when I was at the American International School in Egypt, I had the chance to start working in technology. And that’s kind of when I had I started that and I just kind of found my place. I was really, you know, really suited me. I really was interested in that area of education. And because I had the classroom background, I was really able to connect with people and help them use technology in their classroom. And, you know, both teach students and teachers at the same time and collaborate on that kind of basis. So that was kind of a really great thing for me. And I’m also certified to teach technology in the U.S. as well. And I’m a certified technology integrationist. And so that’s that was kind of where I decided to move to in my career. And yeah, so all of that kind of experience kind of built up. And where I am today is, is really great. I totally love what I do.

And the international side of it is, is kind of a little bit different, I guess, and I guess I’ll explain that. So I work at international schools and they are generally schools made up of both locals and expats and people who are working in different countries, maybe for either like large corporations, sometimes foreign diplomats, or it could just be, you know, some someone who’s moved to another country. It doesn’t have to be specifically work related. So our school that we’re working at now has a large population of both local Indian students and also expats. We have quite a few, and that’s kind of the idea of international schools, although depending on what school or what country it can, the breakdown of local and expat students can definitely kind of vary.

So the language of instruction is always English and students have the option to foreign languages. And there is, you know, a variety of curricula that can be taught. Right now we use Cambridge and we’re also an IB school in the secondary for grades 11 and 12. But other schools I’ve taught at kind of have an option where it’s American curriculum, and then you can decide if you want to do IB later on. So it can be a mix. There’s lots of different ways international schools can kind of have that, and it just depends on what type of school you’re at.

So also in international schools generally, there’s the same thing with teachers. Usually they get on staff, kind of a mix of stuff from the country you’re in and also staff from very various countries around the world. I work with staff from, you know, the UK, from Australia, lots of different countries. But the main thing is you would need to be a certified teacher. Generally, most of my colleagues have master’s, not all that a lot of them do where they’re working on them. So that’s kind of what international schools are like.

And it’s it’s really great to work at international schools. If and if there’s any teachers listening, I highly recommend it. It’s a great learning experience. It definitely pushes your boundaries and you get to do lots of traveling and, you know, different perspectives. So it’s really great. I actually just met a colleague virtually actually on Facebook who will be coming to join our school and she’s from Connecticut and she’s never been outside the US for international teaching before. So I was like, Oh, you’re in for a treat. And you know, there’s you have to be ready to face some new challenges. But I definitely recommend it to everyone because it’s definitely a great experience to learn and grow.

  • Sean

Yeah, that’ll definitely be a change for sure, but it’s really cool. I mean that’s I mean, that has to be you. You have had to have seen so many things, met so many people to get to where you’re at now.

So while teaching itself might present its own, I don’t wanna say issues, but learning curves. How so?

I know when we spoke previously, we talked about how technology is still integrated in these international schools. Clearly there’s essentially a process for rolling out these programs in the US, getting state funding for them, how we use technology in classrooms is I don’t wanna say standard, but it’s fairly standardized across the board.

How is that different working in an international school in India or any other country that that is not the US?

  • Amber

Right. Yeah.

So that’s when we talked about that. That was kind of even interesting to me too, because it’s been a while since I’ve been in a US public school for quite some time. So there is definitely big differences right now. The trends in international schools are for students to have, you know, 1 to 1 device programs. And I would say in secondary it’s pretty standard across almost, I would say nearly all international schools and the elementary divisions, I would say kind of 50, 50. The idea of like cards or sharing iPads is definitely on the way out because it’s just not that efficient and it’s just there’s a lot of problems that it presents as far as scheduling. And, you know, with sharing the carts are students, you know, deleting each other’s work, you know, all sorts of things like that. You just you just go, this isn’t working out. And so but that was I mean, that was at some point I would say maybe seven or eight years ago, like having a cart for elementary an iPad cart was pretty common, at least for, you know, like I said, for elementary, it would be so what now kind of the trend is, I would say, is that most schools for elementary and secondary are having some kind of 1 to 1 device program, but it wouldn’t be through government
funding like in the US. It would be that it’s really part of your school supplies and the students are required to bring them in.

I would say a lot of schools are Apple schools and I think iPads are pretty common for that. Some schools definitely have MacBooks, you know, in secondary iPads. In elementary, there’s a there’s different schools that are flexible about devices. I find that a little tricky. I can talk about why later, but there definitely are schools that allow you to choose your device to bring in. So basically, you would you know, the students would know, okay. You know, this year I’m in third grade and I need to this year bring in, you know, a ninth generation iPad this year, you know, because the generations would every year something new comes out. Then the incoming grade to third grade would have to kind of upgrade and say, okay, this year, you know, this is what we’re going to ask for parents to send in with the kids. So the devices would be part of basically their school supplies and they need to bring them in every day charged and the devices would be school managed. That is something that is really important, but it kind of is, I think, tricky because in the States, if the device, you know, belongs to the school, then people don’t really have as much of an issue because. Okay, well, the school owns the device at the end of the day, so they can manage the device. I mean, the trickier thing in international schools and you can have issues when so the parents would be the ones buying the device and they say, okay, well, I know it’s your device, but we’re going to be managing it. So, you know, so that the kids have the right apps on them. So there’s the security on them. So there’s other things that the device management system would offer just to make things more streamlined. So that’s kind of. A lot of pushback from them.

  • Sean

Do you get alot of pushback from them? So so is that a difficult conversation to have or do they understand that it’s sort of necessary?

  • Amber

Yeah. So we you know, I’ve done a rollout in Bahrain, the school I was part of starting there and we’re doing a rollout in my school now, an elementary. And we it’s we generally try to have a session with parents first of concerns and say, come on in. You know, if you have any questions about the device program that we’re starting, you know, and there’s always there’s some it’s funny because usually a couple people who are really vocal on either side where they’ll be like, you know, I device, you know, I’d like to have control over it, you know, this is this little device they say, well, you have to have that conversation. Well, it is. And if you leave the school or if your student graduates, you know, to secondary, where we don’t manage the devices and that’s fine, you know, but we just you know, it’s really important in elementary, especially because the kids really don’t have the responsibility yet to be able to manage the devices themselves and that we would start to teach them that. So that way they’ll have those skills in secondary.

So you do get pushback because I get it. It’s like, you know, the app store is blocked usually when you manage the devices. And so then you know, well, I’d like my child to have, you know, this whatever game app they like when we go out on vacation. Well, I know, but this is a managed device. You have to see it kind of like a textbook. You know, it’s that’s what it’s for and it’s only for that. So I see it also as kind of a mindset thing where you don’t want the kids to bring it to school and feel like, Oh yeah, this is also my fun device, like for, you know, entertainment, because we really do want to be using it for educational purposes. I also have the opposite where some parents are thrilled because they’re like, great, you know, I won’t have to worry that my child has this in this app on there. And I had a parent just come in and tell me that I’m so happy, you know, you can take our device and you can put the management system on and we’re super thrilled with it because then, you know, we won’t have to worry about our daughter doing this or this or this to the iPad. So you kind of get like either one. And then most people are in the middle where they’re okay with it. You know, maybe they’ve had that in a previous school because it’s pretty standard. And so they’re just like, you know, I see it’s the way it is. And, you know, it’s it’s fine.

And what I generally recommend to parents at International schools is if you are not happy with the idea of, you know, the managed device, get another device for entertainment, even if it’s a super cheap one that you buy used somewhere, will use that iPad for, you know, the fun. So that’s what I generally recommend if you know, and and I think it’s fair I’m a parent too, so is my principal, you know. So we’re so we’re all, you know, in the same boat in all of these cases where, you know, we’re also parents, too. So, yeah, it’s really interesting to see what the reactions are. You definitely have to have some conversations, but all of the policies usually are, you know, they’re not usually will always they’re there for a reason. But it’s sometimes it’s hard for an outsider to kind of understand why that would be if you’re not really used to it or you’re not, you know, in it education or technology or you don’t work at a school. And they’re kind of actually brings me to the the choice in device part, if I can talk about that.

  • Sean


  • Amber

So another thing is along with, you know, having the devices managed by the school, another thing that I often hear parents in international schools talk about again because they’re buying the devices like, oh, well, how can we can’t have like, you know, it’s, you know, an HP laptop or, you know, I have a really great, you know, Samsung or whatever it is, you know, why can’t we use this?

You know, and so the thing is this this is something I get a lot, too, and I get it because, you know, if you already have a device and you want to use it or, you know, some people really are fans of, you know, PCs and not not Apple products. And so, you know, I get a lot of that, like, how come, you know, you’re using Apple and, you know, we have this device and we would like to use it. So one thing that I always talk about with parents and it doesn’t seem like if you’re not teaching in a classroom, so understandable, but like when you’re there and teachers are trying to model for the students what to do, you can imagine that if everyone has different devices in class, it’s kind of really difficult.

You know, for if a teacher stopped the Apple that used Apple iPad that everyone should have and they’re showing you, yeah, this is what you need to do on your device. And either modeling that that, you know, they’ve mirrored it. And if everyone has a different device, it doesn’t look the same. It might not be able to run the same app. And so you then you end up, you know, having a lot of wasted educational time, just trying to get everyone to, you know, do the same thing. So that’s one of the reasons, you know, I talk about, you know, that it’s really important when you have a device program, although it seems sometimes unfair to people that they can’t bring their own devices, especially in elementary. It’s really important because to make sure the kids are on the same page, you really have to be able to model that and you know, they have to be able to follow along. It’s like if the teacher had a book and then all the kids have a different workbook, you know, and so how can they figure out what to do? You know, it’s quite difficult and it’s not efficient in secondary, it can be a little bit different because the kids are older, they’re generally more independent, although I don’t recommend it, I always recommend that it’s the same devices as the teachers have. So it looks exactly the same when they’re modeling an activity. I think it’s in secondary. It’s a little bit easier to have like slightly different devices because you don’t usually it’s not as app based either in secondary, it’s more web based. So if you have a device to access the Internet, usually it’s okay. But in theory, it’s very app based. So, you know, there’s there’s that.

So that is one thing as far as efficiency. Those are the two things I really, you know, put a lot of emphasis to having the same devices and that the devices are managed by the school. And also when you have, you know, you’re going to have IT problems and when you have IT problems, you can’t you can’t expect your i.t department to be able to troubleshoot on like, you know, 50 different kinds of devices, you know, so they, you really have to be like, okay, well, they know how to troubleshoot on apples from this generation to this generation. And that. But, you know, that’s what they can focus on being really, you know, good at troubleshooting. And you just really can’t expect them to be experts in every single type of device. And again, there’s always problems.

You always you know, there’s always going to be someone who can’t connect to the Internet, someone who, you know, their device is not working. And so to be able to also have that quickly resolved, you need to make sure you have some kind of guidelines as far as you know, what kind of devices you’re using.

  • Sean

Yeah, absolutely. And I would say, you know, most schools here use Chromebooks and obviously there’s there’s many different models of those. And as a repair company, we do need to know how to troubleshoot and repair all of those devices. But from the students point of view, every single Chromebook works exactly the same. You know, you get to iPads and MacBooks and now, you know, instead of the X being up in the top right corner, it’s in the top left. And so as a very young kid, yes, I could see how trying to follow along with the teacher that’s showing me how to do something, if it’s not exactly the same, could be very confusing. So that that makes a lot of sense to me. And even I mean, I’m an Android phone user when I try to use someone’s iPhone, I have a hard time just going back to where I just was and I’m right in my thirties. It completely makes sense to me.

  • Amber

Yeah. Yeah. And I think that kind of goes along with something also and to talk about that. So when you’re when we expect teachers to use the technology in the classroom, that’s that’s also something that is, you know, we want to make easy for the teacher, right? So you want to make sure that they have, you know, a smooth experience being able to, you know, use the technology in their classroom. And that does go along with it. Like you said, it could be really frustrating as a teacher to, you know, have the students if you were going to, you know, make, I don’t know, like book creator books, you know, and then maybe this device looks different than this device in this. And, you know, that just it just becomes a big time waster.

And then, you know, as a teacher, I can I can totally understand if that teacher said, well, I don’t think I want to try that again, you know, so I think I’m just going to have them do it, you know, on paper, you know, we’re not going to try this again. So you have to kind of be really careful about when you’re rolling out 1 to 1 programs about making sure that like, first of all, that you try to make sure the device management and, you know, models are kind of all efficient and it’s seamless there because if you’re teaching a lesson, it really makes a big difference.

And then also that one thing I’m really very keen on is actually not that it’s like, you know, a plug for my job, but like tech integration is really important in tech integration. So super important to have that as a position at any school because I know from being a classroom teacher that saying, okay, well the kids have all these devices now go ahead and use them, you know, like, well, how and like, can you give me an example of how to use them and like what’s the best way? And, you know, and then, you know, having a situation where maybe it’s frustrating, like, what do you do? And I can see why. You know, a lot of times programs might not go so well because, you know, a teacher tries something and then it doesn’t go well and they don’t really have anywhere to go for support.

So one thing I try to really do in is, you know, make sure we have enough sessions to make sure people are comfortable with technology and with the devices and using them in the classroom and understanding like I’m happy to count any time, you know, like I’m going to computer planning meetings and then anytime you need to book me for a class, you know, even if you think it’s something small, I’m going to come, I’m going to help out and I’m going to be there. Maybe I won’t say anything the whole time if you don’t want me to. And you know I’m going to be there to support the process. And if something goes wrong, I’m there to help, you know, like it’s not like you in front of the class go, oh, my goodness, this isn’t working out, you know.

So that’s I was like, that’s one thing, you know, I just I I’m so, so I’m so surprised when I find schools that don’t have that position as like, like the technology integrationist because I love I.T. departments, you know, they’re great. Every school needs one of those, too. But like, they’re not the same thing where they can understand the intricacies of like using technology in instruction and when it might be time for you to jump in or help out or, you know, coach or whatever the case is. And also, they’re not really in a in a relationship building position, which is definitely what tech integration is. You need to have relationships with the teachers on staff so that you can collaborate and help. And and that’s kind of that’s kind of where I think it’s really important because otherwise you can have the greatest, you know, technology. But if nobody’s using it because they don’t feel comfortable with it, then it’s not it’s not like it’s not going to be worth anything.

And that was one thing. I was surprised talking to some teachers recently in the US saying, Oh, we don’t have a technology integrationist at our school. And I’m going, Oh, like that’s hard. You’re, you know, that’s, that’s difficult. Like who do you go to when you need? You need some advice or you need help or you know, you want to do a technology project and and you know, you’re on your own. So and I think that you said sometimes you just you ask the person next door, you know.

  • Sean

Yup, their neighbors, your best friend, sometimes in the classroom. You’ve mentioned coding a few times and obviously your position or your expertize is in integrating technology into classrooms. I, I’m assuming that’s across all different curriculum.

  • Amber

So yeah, I, I was surprised to hear also some people that I know in the States mentioning that sometimes classroom teachers actually are being asked to teach coding and as it comes, my gosh, like that too? and yeah, so coding is something I’m like quite passionate about teaching at the elementary level. And I know I was talking to you before about why I think so. And so for me, I never thought I would end up teaching coding, but I just love it because I see the value of it behind just computer science and the idea that, oh, well, maybe they’re going to be, you know, coders when they grow up or they’re going to work at, a technology company or something like that. So I really find so much importance in computational skills and computational thinking is, is really important.

And so one, I’ll just give some examples. So like, you know, when one of the computational thinking skills is, is decomposition. So you might be teaching it in encoding context, but decomposition is you know, putting things together, taking them apart. And that’s something you do enough. Like, you know, when students are learning math, they might be, you know, putting together and taking apart numbers and that in a problem. So yes, you’re doing it in coding, but the concept is applicable to math, you know, and to plenty of other subjects. Pattern recognition is a computational thinking skills. So I often think, you know, in poetry there can be, you know, patterns in, you know, repetition, in music, some understanding, you know, pattern recognition in, you know, the beats or the rhythm. And so pattern recognition is something you definitely teach in the context of coding, but it it transcends, you know, coding itself. Same thing with, you know, abstraction, which is focusing on, you know, the most important thing. And, you know, first thing that comes to mind is, you know, me an idea of a story and, you know, language arts.

So there’s just so many parts of that that I’ve come to realize, like while coding is super important, not because necessarily all my students are going to become coders someday, but because those skills, you know, transcend just, you know, one subject. It’s not just computer science. You’re actually helping them develop skills to, you know, master other subjects and concepts. And, you know, and the other thing was that I really, you know, as I taught it, one thing I started to notice was that there was also a real kind of growth mindset that I noticed when you’re teaching it, it’s almost that you have a chance to kind of promote growth mindset because a lot of times, you know, students will fail the code that they’re writing, I mean, very, very frequently. And and so how do you overcome that problem? You know, the frustration, you know, how do you move on? How do you develop a growth mindset to be able to overcome, you know, failure? And so that’s something that’s not that easy for students to learn all the time because it’s like a social emotional kind of skill. But actually, I realized that coding is actually quite a good way to, to, to teach it. And we talk a lot about you know, the concept of debugging and that actually really for me matches growth mindset because you’re looking for, you know, the mistakes and then you’re going to find them. But how do you overcome that when you just can’t figure it out? You know, some kids get quite upset. So that’s a way to kind of teach that growth mindset and socio emotional like growth and development. So that was the everything. So I really like that was really interesting to me.

And I, that’s one thing I, you know, go back on where I’m glad I have a classroom background because when I started teaching this, I just love coding. I just love it for the sake of computer science. But then I realized, wow, it’s actually like it’s super important, not just for that, but it it can really be connected to almost any subject. And it really does help the kids develop skills and concepts and all those subjects and so connecting it also across the curriculum, there’s I mean, it really there’s so many different ways to do it, just so many different project ideas.

I’ll give you a couple examples. Our school recently we were I was working with the class on an integration project for Habitat in second grade and we were using Beebots to create well, we created a habitat and, you know, a huge piece of like butcher paper. They made out that they made the graph out for the BeeBot. They decided on the habitat and designed each square to look like creatures or plants in the habitat. And then they coded be able to, you know, take a trip through the habitat. And it was really awesome.

And that was, you know, them learning computer science skills. But at the same time integrating what they learned in their science part of their unit study. And all of them got to choose everything about the project, like what habitat they were going to work on in their group, what things that they would put in their habitat, and exactly how the BeeBot would travel around. They coded that themselves.

Another project I did was we had students code to teach people how to reduce, reuse, recycle in Scratch Junior. So they created three scenes to teach others about how to reduce, reuse, recycle. So instead of just, you know, telling someone or writing a book about it, they actually created interactive scenes to teach people how to do that. And it was really cool. And they presented it to kindergartners who are about to learn Scratch Junior and it taught them those concepts. And it was that was really great.

A previous school we were using Sphero and did a project where the Sphero, they made a huge butcher paper with the human body and Sphero they had to travel through is kind of similar to the Habitat project, but the Sphero would travel through and ask questions about the human body, like the different, you know, organs or body parts that it would could it was for it was coded to land on. So a lot of different ways to integrate. You know, it just whatever, whatever kind of subject there is, there’s tends to be some kind of link. Again, you don’t want to force it. It has to be something that is I never when when I’m planning with teachers, it’s never like, well, we have to integrate technology in this. It’s always like, does this work? Is this going to add value? You know, is there agency in this? Because sometimes and this is something I really also really talk about a lot to teachers that I work with is that we don’t have to integrate technology into everything we also like part of it is knowing when we should use technology and when we shouldn’t use technology because it doesn’t always add value just because we’re using it. Sometimes we say, Well, this isn’t going to add value, so we’re not going to use it. And that’s okay, you know, and sometimes we’re like, wow, this is just going to bring, you know, student, you know, knowledge and understanding to the next level.

So, yeah, we’re going to we’re going to do this or, you know, they’re going to have, you know, voice and choice. So we’re going to we’re going to do this. But sometimes you’re like, this isn’t it’s not it’s not going to work. So it’s always something we don’t want to force just for the sake of it.

So as a former teacher, I have to ask, are the teachers also learning how to code? Because if so, if I was teaching a science lesson and I want to do something where the students are going to be coding a scene or recycling or whatever, and they asked me a question. I would have no idea how to answer it.

  • Sean

So does the staff also learn how to do all of that?

  • Amber

So the way usually it works is I wouldn’t expect them to teach the coding skills part of whatever project we’re doing. However, it would generally be so it can work two ways. Sometimes if the class has a standalone technology lesson, sometimes I’ll be teaching them that in the standalone technology lesson, like the coding skills themselves. But if it’s a class that has just integration, the teacher is going to be there when I’m teaching this and I sometimes teachers, you know, are really super interested in it, will pay attention to the coding aspect which which is the ideal thing because, you know, we’re working together, you know, they’re there if they can also learn alongside the kids, they’re going to be able to support their students with the project even better. So I that’s that’s ideal. I mean, I know that not everyone is, is, you know, super interested in the coding aspect of it and they have lots of other things on their minds being, you know, classroom teachers. But there is a big, I would say, percentage of teachers that will sit there and themselves learn how to do the coding as well.

And actually that goes for a lot of the different projects we do. I always, you know, because it’s a collaboration, you know, generally the teacher, he or she should be, you know, kind of also part of the teaching. And so I’ve had a lot of teachers, especially with digital publishing, seems to be really popular. When I teach Canva, a lot of teachers are like, Oh, I’m going to, you know, I want to see how to do this, too, because, you know, I’d like to use Canva as well, you know, because it’s so useful in, you know, doing lots of things, you know, like party invites, posters, cards, all sorts of things that you might do in your personal life or even, you know, in the classroom making different kinds of visuals. So a lot of times when I teach Canva that that’s definitely a big one where people are like, Ooh, I want to learn how to like learn these new features in Canva. How do you do this or that?

But also coding. It’s also some people are quite interested in it as well, but I try to have an understanding that, you know, because classroom teachers have so many other things to do that if they’re not experts in or maybe or not, you know, catching the whole thing, that that’s what I’m there for. So it’s okay.

  • Sean

All right. That makes sense. And that’s so it’s more of a almost like a co teaching setting then.

  • Amber

Absolutely. Yeah, that’s ideal as the ideal setting is like it’s kind of like a co teaching.

  • Sean

Yeah, I would say that’s definitely more beneficial. What we used to do was they students would be off for the day and we would all sit in the same room and we’d get a demonstration on a projector. And then here’s the new thing where you can use it in the classroom. More like, Yeah, all right, Did anyone take notes?

  • Amber

Yeah. Will I remember this?

  • Sean

Yeah, exactly. So co teaching is definitely. That’s it. It is 100% more efficient or more effective.

  • Amber

I definitely do PD sessions. I especially like to do Google workspace ones which is is sometimes not even necessarily something you’re going to be doing with your students. But I really, I really like that to do PD sessions on that. And also I’ll often kind of like poll teachers to see if there’s a certain tool that they want a session on. And usually it’s optional. It’s usually not like required. They’ll say, Hey, look, on this PD day or after school on Thursdays when we stay late, I’m going to do a quick session on, you know, NearPod if you want to. It’s going to be at 330, you know, and you can join in. So I definitely do that. But it’s optional.

And oftentimes times one of two things will happen. They’ll say, Hey, I do want to use this in my class. I’m going to do that. You know, Wednesday morning at 8:00, can you come in? And I’ll be like, sure. And I’ve also had a session I recently did a presentation on and I was doing a Google Maps session at this edtech. Well, this actually not just edtech. It’s actually educational conference that we have at our school every year. And I had a couple of teachers in elementary say, hey, like, I really like that. Can you like teach me more? And I said, Sure, we’ll do another session. And it was a small group that came like a few people. And we were able to, you know, kind of build on what was done at the session that I did with the large group. And then they if they had specific questions, they could ask in like a smaller setting so they could gain a better understanding of it.

So those are all kind of things that, like I do and I just, I just try to, you know, be really flexible and, you know, absolutely, like you said, that’s really hard to be like, hey, let’s have a session, you know, for an hour and now you’ve got to use it in the class. Go ahead. You know, so it just feels of like you’re kind of throwing someone in the deep end, which is definitely not what I want people to feel like. So, yeah, that’s that’s definitely why, you know, tech integrationists have a role in schools when you’re asking people to, you know, use technology in the classroom, if you ask people to do it,
you need someone there to support them.

  • Sean

So where are you moving to next?

  • Amber

That’s a really good question. I am not sure, I, I, I think Poland might be on the list actually. Yeah, my son may be attending college there. It’s a very strong chance. So we might in a few years be headed there. We’ll see, though. Things can change. You know, sometimes with international teaching, you go, Oh, there’s amazing opportunity in this country. I never thought about that, you know, so things can change. But that’s that’s kind of the country that’s on my possibility strong possibility list right now. But like I said, you never know, to be honest with you at this time.

Well, a little maybe about a year and a few months ago, if you had asked me or told me I was moving to India, I’d been like, What are you talking about? I’m not even planning on go to vacation there and here I am. So it could change. But I do hope it’s Poland and that would probably be in a few years and yeah, so I kind of the world is your oyster and once my son graduates high school, it’s kind of like going to be quite flexible for us as far as where we might go. So we’ll see. And in the meantime, planning on traveling to some new countries while we’re in India because lots of great places nearby to go to.

  • Sean


So this is a little off topic, but it is going to be my last question for you. If a tech director or another educator that is listening to this podcast right now would like to get into this international teaching scene, how how do you go about that?

  • Amber

I mean, you just Google like I want to be an international teacher or is there are there programs you enroll in or how does that work? Sure. So it’s pretty well, there’s a few ways to do it. I think the the most popular way, that’s pretty standard. There are some agencies that people sign up for. You have to pay a fee and then you sign up for the agency and you can look at the job listings and apply on their website for the job listings. And a lot of them hold like teaching fairs either online or in person. I think probably the most popular one is called Search Associates.

There’s also ISS – international school services and and scroll. There used to be one but I think that they just split up. And then there’s also teacher horizons. There’s GRC, which is a global recruitment collaborative, and there’s also Tai online, which is another website and TES which is kind of geared more towards British schools. But so that’s the, the, the agencies that you can sign up for online.

And a lot of people find their jobs through that. And so basically now nowadays there are you know, there are fairs, but I would say the majority of the recruitment takes place on Zoom interviews, you know, that are lined up and you just accept the offer virtually the other way that sometimes it is useful to find jobs is there is quite a few international teacher groups on Facebook where people will post ads and say like, Hey, we have an opening for English at my school. One is called Teachers on the Move Internationally. This one is is a really good one I think is probably one of the most popular on Facebook. And there’s oftentimes job openings post on there.

There’s also a lot of recruiters on on that Facebook. Group as well. And also, LinkedIn is a great place. What I would suggest is if you have countries or schools in mind, reach out to like the principals or the directors at those schools on LinkedIn, maybe connect with them or you know, because sometimes they’ll post opportunities on LinkedIn, I see this really often and sometimes you can find opportunities that way. So those are usually the biggest ways. And once you start teaching internationally and you have friends who move on to other schools, you yourself will have quite a bit of network as well. And you know, that’s that’s also something that can be a good a good way to find jobs. But yeah, I mean, when you when you look at the agencies and LinkedIn together, that’s plenty to be able to see what’s out there.

  • Sean

Yeah, that’s really awesome. I mean that’s, that would be quite an experience. I know a couple people that have gone south of the U.S. like Ecuador and Costa Rico and things like that. And I know they’ve they’ve absolutely loved it and they’ve loved it. So yeah.

So for anyone listening that would like to do that, you can also reach out to Amber on her LinkedIn if you want to plug yourself a little bit here, you’re more than welcome to.

  • Amber


So yeah, you can you can find me on LinkedIn if you search for me. Amber Acosta and I am the Canadian International School of Bangalor.

I think I’m pretty easy to find on LinkedIn.

  • Sean

Yep, absolutely.

Well, Amber, thank you so much for bringing a worldly perspective to educational technology. I really appreciate you coming on our podcast. Thank you so much.

  • Amber

Thank you, Sean.

Show transcript