Born in 1984

EduTech Coach & Digital Native in Korea

YIS x Apple 1:1 Pilot Project

Academics, EduTech, YIS January 27, 2010

This marks the second week that Ms. Sonya Wild’s class Grade 3S have been running the 1:1 Laptop Pilot Program with Ms. Christine Usyak (Elementary ICT Facilitator) in collaboration with Apple Japan Education Sales Team. Apple Japan chose Yokohama International School to pilot and evaluate a 1:1 program and Ms. Wild volunteered her and her class to work closely with Ms. Christine to evaluate this 1:1 project. Ms. Christine has been chosen by the YIS leadership team to liaison between Apple Japan, YIS, and the classroom teacher during the project. Apple Japan has loaned YIS 20 brand new laptops for 3S to use for a period of 3 months starting January 2010. The laptops will be in the classroom first. After two weeks of the student using it in the classroom, with permission from each 3S family, the students will have the opportunity to use these laptops for school work at home. The YIS 1:1 Evaluation Team includes: Mr. Paul Neary, Ms. Shanel Catasti, Ms. Wild, and Ms. Christine.

What is a One-to-One Laptop Environment? Here is an excerpt from the One-to-One Institute of what is a ’1:1 learning environment’: “In the one-to-one classroom, students’ access to personal technology and the Internet enables them to be self-directed and receive highly personalized instruction. Teachers can create Individualized Education Plans for each child, addressing his or her unique needs. Students use their personal devices to do research, homework, problem-solve, team projects, email and academic coursework. At the same time, they gain valuable 21st century skills that will be beneficial throughout their lives and careers.” For more resources on 1:1 and the YIS 1:1 project, please visit the following website.

On January 12, 3S students were asked to open the computers from the box. You can see a bit of what Day 1 was like through these videos and this link.

YIS 1:1 Laptop Arrival from yisevents on Vimeo.

“It’s like Christmas” is what one class in elementary explain as they are the only ones in the school who were chosen to pilot a 1:1 laptop pilot program.

Ms. Wild has been recording happenings in the classroom on her blog. The students use applications available on the Apple computer including Photo Booth, Safari, and Garageband. In the coming weeks they will be using iWork 09 and work with other Web 2.0 services such as Animoto and Posterous. Each 3S student has been assigned a school email address which is monitored by the school. Each student also has their own blog web site which the students registered using school email address. Ms. Wild and Ms. Christine have already told the students that the school email address is used for communication between each other and their teachers, as well as, for registering for online tools that we will be using for school related assignments. The teachers have communicated to the students that email is not a tool for negative behavior. There are many online tools on the Internet that prohibit children age 13 and under from registering for these services. Because YIS is issuing school email addresses that are maintained at YIS, the staff can assure parents that the school is able to monitor student email accounts and that students can register for online accounts under teacher supervision. Because the students have school email addresses, they are able to register for online tools such as Posterous for blogging and Animoto to create videos with photos and videos the students have taken.

There was an information session on Wednesday, January 20 for 3S families to learn more about the 1:1 project and to support parents voicing concerns about the project. This session gave families a chance learn about what a 1:1 environment is, the implications of 1:1 on student learning, and how families can support learning with technology at home. The collaborative work space (i.e. Also called a ‘wiki.’) was introduced to the families during the session where parents were encouraged to visit and comment. The work space is an ongoing collaborative online collaborative work space that YIS, Apple Japan, Apple Professional Trainer (John D’Arcy from Canadian International School of Hong Kong), Mr. Neary, Ms. Catasti, Ms. Wild, and Ms. Christine are involved in building resources and information for and from this 1:1 pilot project. The session was streamed live and recorded as well. See the video below or click on this link.

Ms. Christine is the Elementary ICT Facilitator at Yokohama International School. She is passionate about educating children in web literacy and instructs students how to use Apple computers and software, as well as, Web 2.0 services in their learning. Visit her teaching portfolio.

Etymology Builder Unit Plan

Academics, Apple Distinguished Educator, EduTech, Lesley University January 23, 2010

The following documentation was created using the Understanding by Design method, WA State Language Arts Standards, and ISTE Standards. It is a unit designed so that students can build their vocabulary by understanding root words.

Unit Activities

Unit Scope and Sequence

Japanese WebQuest

Academics, Apple Distinguished Educator, EduTech, YIS January 23, 2010

During my 1:1 sessions with a Japanese classroom teacher, we created a WebQuest to support her motivation to use technology in the classroom and to help students be self-directed in honing their research skills in Japanese. The unit below asks students to find one Japanese folklore story and ‘translate’ the story using a Japanese dialect that the teacher assigned to them. The students have heard these stories in 標準語 ‘standard’, non-dialect Japanese that translating it into a different dialect and sharing their stories to the class made them think of geography and culture in terms of expressions in Japanese.

ICT Role for PYP Exhibition 2010

Academics, EduTech, YIS January 22, 2010

Here are some notes I prepared for the PYP Coordinator for a meeting the Grade 5 teachers from YIS and Tokyo International School will have this afternoon about the PYP Exhibition 2010. This is my very first time I will be involved with the PYP Exhibition. I’ve been told to brace myself but also that it is a rewarding experience. Lately I have been looking more into the PYP Exhibition Ning to look for discussions and collaboration, PYP Exhibition Resources blog for ideas, and PYP ICT Resources blog for ideas on how I can contribute to the Exhibition.


Although ICT is not required in the exhibition, the YIS Grade 5 teachers and students have decided that they will be writing their reflections and documenting their learning process using Posterous blogs. You can find how to register for Posterous here. Each student has been assigned a school email address so that they can register for online tools such as Posterous. Some students have also registered for Animoto using a Classroom Code that the teacher obtained for the class. Both of these online services strictly prohibits students 13 and younger from registering unless the school provides a ‘dummy’ or alias email address that the school maintains. Apply for Animoto Classroom Code here. The teacher and the ICT Facilitator has supervised both Posterous and Animoto registration so that students use their school email address to register and understand that YIS does not tolerate negative behavior with email and online services.

Posterous – Blogging platform that students can use school email to send a blog post with photos, audio or video files to their website. The subject of the email becomes the title of the post and the body of the email becomes the description or ‘blog post.’
Animoto – Animoto allows educators to apply for a Classroom Code and All-Access Pass for free. This has allowed students to create a video out of their photos, video, and audio recordings without the hassle and time it takes to add transitions and make slideshows. Animoto videos can be downloaded and dropped into iMovie for further editing.

The role of the ICT Facilitator for YIS Grade 5 Exhibition is to:
- Be present in weekly grade level planning meetings (Every Wednesday from 2pm-3pm)
- Block times to work with students using the Grade 5 shared schedule (Times TBD)
- Work with mentors and mentor groups if requested
- Work with teachers and students on strategies to save work (ie. File sizes, Server, USB Memory Stick, Computer)
- Work with IT Team to ensure that printer issues are resolved in a timely manner
- Work with Grade 5 teachers and students on final presentation day to help organize and facilitate event

From the Exhibition Guidelines Handbook 2008:

Role of ICT in PYP Exhibition

Role of ICT in PYP Exhibition

Alan November in November 2008

Academics, EduTech, Workshops, YIS January 19, 2010

Almost 2 years ago I had the opportunity and honor to meet Alan November. The YIS BTG Committee is currently negotiating with November Learning to bring him as a speaker to BTG 2010. This year’s BTG 2009 (Bridging The Gap) was a great success with BarCamp Yokohama as a finale to the 2-day conference. I hope to post more about my experience as a co-chair for BTG 2009 and chair for BarCamp Yokohama 2009 soon. Thanks to Rick Martin for his post on Yokohama BarCamp! Here are some great photos from some of the participants.

Listen to some of Alan November talking to technicians and staff at an international school (Not YIS)
Session 1: With Alan November & Tech Support in November 2008
Session 2: With Alan November & Faculty in November 2008

Beijing Learning Summit 2009: Presentation Overview

EduTech, Workshops October 17, 2009


Welcome to Beijing Learning Summit 2009 and to my presentation “21st Century Teaching: Where’s Your Portfolio?”

I flew in from Japan last night really excited to be here. I’m passing around my information so that you can take look at how I have spent the last 2.5 years working with ICT and Yokohama International School. I currently work as the Elementary ICT Facilitator and work closely with the IB PYP Curriculum Coordinator, teachers, and students. Please feel free to see my Job Description and Resume on this blog.

My presentation today will focus on how you as an educator can create and maintain a presence online.

“Educators often help students prepare portfolios for goal-setting and to record progression in learning. But who is helping the teachers do the same? Are teacher portfolios a necessary part of teaching? For educators in international schools, a teacher portfolio may be the best way to consolidate teaching materials and reflect on their work as they travel the world. In this presentation we will relate and discuss student to teacher portfolios, how to get started or make your teacher porfolio better, and what things to be conscious of when sharing your work with an audience that extends beyond the classroom.

“Notes and resources for presentation:
My plan is to talk briefly about who I am, my role at the school, what school environment I work in, who our students are at Yokohama International School. I will show as much photos and video as I can that I have taken during my 2.5 years at YIS. I will link as much on this website. All links related to my presentation will be available at My Delicious. I will be showing photos either via MobileMe Gallery and/or Flickr.
“More than a presenter, I would like to think myself as a facilitator so I would like to hear your feedback and discussion points throughout the session. I do not know much about working in China but I would like to know more about what social media or Web 2.0 can be used in the schools. Please share as much as you can and I will too. We have 1.5 hours together so I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone :-D
One example of Web 2.0 and ICT in the YIS classroom to connect a field trip to the PYP Unit of Inquiry:

Grade 2 went a zoo called Zoorasia in Yokohama. Photos were taken during the day and an MP3 recorder was used to record the children’s voices. I helped combine ICT skills for the classroom teacher by first joining the Grade 2 on field trips, recording voices, and using photos taken by classroom teachers during the day and then producing a video, photos, and audio clip in Animoto for the class. From that experience and 1:1 training sessions with the teacher, the classroom teacher produced the following podcast & Animoto on her own!


Elementary ICT PD Session 1

EduTech, Workshops, YIS September 24, 2009

Elementary ICT PD Session 1 has been scheduled with the help of the Elementary Principal and planned with the Elementary Curriculum Coordinator in response to the request for ICT PD in the elementary and to address concerns with ICT support in the elementary.

Assistant, homeroom, single-subject teachers are invited to attend this workshop on Thursday, September 24 from 3:15-4:00 in KG (Kindergarten classroom).

If you cannot make it, please be sure to have at least one person from your grade level or subject area to attend. If no one can attend from your grade level or subject area, please get in touch with the Elementary ICT Facilitator.

There will be 4 topics addressed in 45 minutes. This blog post is to provide reading to prepare for the session and/or use this post to update you about ICT in the elementary. The session will be hands-on, so please bring your laptop.

Topics covered on Thursday, September 24

1. New IT Support ticketing system

Some of you may already know of the new online ticketing system the IT Department is using. This change took place this summer and we are encouraging all staff and students who have a FirstClass email account to use this system. We have also have parents using our system.

Prior to this online ticketing system we were using emails that went into a shared online work space using FirstClass. This system did not allow us to delegate tasks effectively in our department and did not allow us to gain any statistics about our response record nor allow us to track repeated queries about IT troubleshooting issues to improve our service.

We are hoping that this system will help record and delegate support queries effectively within our department and help track queries so they will be promptly answered via email or in person. The only way to improve the system, like many online services, is that the end user (ie. staff, students, parents) use our system.

2. Color Printing and File Size

If you are printing graphic filled documents from Microsoft Word or Pages, it is important that you check the file size before sending the print job to a printer. If you are at home sending a file that is 1MB or more you will notice right away because you are likely to get a printer error. Sending large print jobs to school color printers seem less obvious that a printer error occurred but, unfortunately, school printers are not invincible. Also, by trying to print a large file from an alternate printer will only jam another printer.

There are several ways to check the file size. The easiest way is to select the file that is saved on your computer then go to the File Menu and select Get Info (ie. Apple + I). Files more than 1MB are huge.

So what is going on in your document that is making your file so large? Text never takes that much room on a file, but pictures do. There are a few things to be conscious of and consider before inserting a picture into your document:

  • When taking a photo is your resolution optimal for yearbook photo quality or for something to insert in a document? In other words, have you changed the settings on your camera so that it is the optimal resolution to use in a document?
  • When downloading an image from a web site check the file size.
  • After checking all the file sizes of the images from iPhoto or using ‘Get Info’, do they add up to less than 1MB?

If your photo is already in iPhoto, you simply go to the File Menu and select Export. You change the settings so that it is between 250 pixels, which is the optimal size to upload to a web page, or up to 450 pixels, which is an optimal size for a Powerpoint or Keynote slide. If you are more familiar with Adobe Photoshop, there is also an option to change the file size there.

3. Text Edit: Alternative application to Microsoft Word

Waiting more than a few minutes for Microsoft Word to open? Microsoft Word takes some time to load and so does Pages. If you are looking for a word-processing application and you are losing precious time waiting for Word or Pages to open, use Text Edit as an alternative. Granted, Text Edit is not a fancy application and does not replace Word or Pages as layout gurus. Text Edit is a simpler word-processing application that takes 10 seconds to open. During the PD days on Monday and Tuesday, I put a Text Edit shortcut on the left side of Microsoft Word on the dock of each iBook used in the elementary. The original application comes with every Mac OS X and can be found in the Applications folder.

4. Register for Vimeo as a grade-level or subject area & register for Animoto for an individual educator account.

Currently, teachers and parents are having trouble accessing the media on the classroom portals. Vimeo, similar to YouTube, and Animoto, similar to creating a slideshow using iPhoto or iMovie, have been used by teachers and accessed by parents at YIS. Teachers and parents have been able to access Vimeo and Animoto videos easily that the school is encouraging you to use these two free Web 2.0 services. Note: Free Vimeo accounts have advertisements and free Animoto educator accounts do not.

Vimeo accounts exist in the ELC, Grade 1, and Grade 2 as shared accounts. Please share these accounts with you classroom assistants if you have not already. Click here to register for a Vimeo account for your grade level or subject area. You will need to pick an email address of one person in your team who would be willing to touch base with you about successful video uploads and updates from Vimeo. Note on choosing a name: ELC has picked ‘yiselc’ and Grade 1 something like ‘yisgr1′ or ‘yisgrade1′ for their accounts.

We will also be applying for the Animoto educator account will give you the option to create full-length videos rather than the 30-second limit that comes with regular free accounts. Click here to begin the application for the Animoto educator account. They may accept your application immediately but it took 3 tries for me, but well worth it!

Shohei and I will be following up with your grade level and subject areas to ensure that you were successful in registering for Vimeo accounts as a grade-level or subject area, and individually for Animoto accounts.


ECOMP 7008.80 Week 1

EduTech, Lesley University September 22, 2009


My name is Christine and I am the Elementary ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) Facilitator at Yokohama International School. I can give you three links to further describe that sentence: Christine | Elementary ICT Facilitator | Yokohama International School. I currently provide professional development to elementary teachers on how to use technology effectively in the classroom. I also have an interest in organizing conferences and workshops to further develop ICT skills in teachers.

I was born and raised in Tokyo and attended Seisen International School from K-12. I went to Seattle University and studied Asian Studies. I am currently in the program Lesley University Masters in Education, Technology in Education on the Washington State track, as well as, taking University of Washington School Library Professional Certificate to complement the Lesley program. My mother lives in Tokyo, my eldest sister lives in San Francisco and my second eldest sister lives in Los Angeles. My father passed away 15 years ago and was a Grade 6 teacher up until he passed on. My hobbies include learning more about my identity as a multicultural in Japan, education, Web 2.0, music, and writing.

Reflective Journal:

3 questions: Why am I in this course? What do I hope to know or be able to do as a result of my participation here? What do I really, really, really want to know about technology as it relates to my teaching practice?

I am in this course over the other courses I have to take because I wish to publish papers for professional journals and felt that this particular course would help me produce my own professional literature. As a result of my participation of this course I hope to know and be able to conduct educational research and how to use that research to delve deeper into educational issues. What I would like to know about technology as it relates to my teaching practice is how to provide effective technology training sessions to teachers, parents, and students.

Christine’s Try I.T. On Monday Week 2

EduTech, Newsletters, YIS September 9, 2009

Here’s to Week 2 of Christine’s Try I.T. On Monday :-) Apologies that it’s already mid-week!

Announcements for everyone

My schedule is labeled Christine’s ICT Calendar in FirstClass > Desktop > Facility Reservation for all to see. If you would like me to come to your class to observe and help guide your students using school technology, please cross-check my schedule with yours and send me an invitation in FirstClass. Looking forward to working with you and your class.

If you are having trouble printing from a printer at school, first check how big the file size on a document is, especially if you or your students are printing images from a Word or Pages document. Just select the file, go to File > Get Info. If the file size is more than 1MB you will stall the printer and your job won’t print. Once you’ve reduced the file size using iPhoto, see screencast, then print again. We also have printers in different areas in the school. I have added YIS Technology Facilities Maps this summer on the Server > Faculty Resources > Shared > IT Resources > Tech Facilities Maps

I’ve seen Kindergarten, Grade 2, and Grade 5 work with Wordle. Do you know about the wiki dedicated to creating interesting Wordles based on topics so you can guess what the theme of the Wordle is with your class? Check out the Guess the Wordle How To page for ideas of what ways you can use Wordle.

Educational Technology to Share from Elementary

I meet with the staff twice a week so that I can see each of the staff at least once a week. Junko showed me her BTSN video that she created in iMovie 09 and we are working together to export the movie onto her external hard drive as a back up, but also so that she can upload the compressed video to Vimeo.

Last year, the ELC, Grade 1, and Grade 2 grade levels chose a point person to sign up for Vimeo as a place to upload videos of students. Vimeo has 5 features that makes the service appealing for elementary teachers: Free to sign up with advertisements; Unlimited storage space and 500MB per week upload limit; Share video by embedding or sending parents a link to the video; Levels of privacy appropriate for elementary level that are not found in YouTube; Parents who register with Vimeo can download the video up to one week after the video was initially uploaded.

The following links for Wordle and CBeebies are on all K1 laptops in the Emergency Save Folder. Please try out these links with your students. Here are some ideas of different ways to use Wordle. Thanks Tasha for telling me about CBeebies, what a great way to introduce students to the world of computers.

Grade 1
1S went to Toy’s Club down the street from YIS, a place filled with toys from the 1950s. Listen to 1S’s comments on their trip to Toy’s Club on their Voicethread (VT). If you have a VT account, I encourage you to add some feedback to 1S’s VT.

I worked with 1S and 1L on setting up a Skype project inviting family members for their Unit of Inquiry and helping the teachers do practice Skype calls, setting up projectors, making sure the Macbook is wired into the network, and using a Macbook rather than iBook or eMac so that they can do video conferencing with the iSight camera available on a Macbook.

A challenge Luke had for me was to find a good tool so that students can visualize migration. We talked about Google Earth but I wanted to find a tool that’s interactive and shows lines going from city to city, similar to flight destination maps I’ve found on the plane. I feel I met the challenge. Please try the oneworld Online TimeTable with your students ;-)

Grade 2
“What do you love about Japan?” How would you answer that question? My friend Andrew asked my friends and I what we love about Japan using Wallwisher. I thought I’d ask the Grade 2 to join in with me and add a ‘sticky note’ by simply double-clicking the ‘board.’ Why don’t you try this Japan Wallwisher too?

In 2D we also learned how to care for the computers: no running while the computers are out, carry the computer with two hands, sit when you’re using the computer, no liquids near the computers, and other great safety tips came from the class.

Grade 3
I had the pleasure to be in 3W helping out the students while they were completing their profiles in ComicLife and mind mapping using Kidspiration. Perhaps this wiki on Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences can give you more ideas for your unit. There’s also 4 MI tests that your students could use and discuss.

Grade 4
4C were doing their profiles last week. Nick and I were able to help 4C in opening, copying, and working on their profiles. 4C learned that by holding down the option key and dragging and dropping a file copies it.

I had the opportunity to work with 4H and 4G on their online safety portion of their current unit. We used M218 (aka. IT Lab) and went through Safe Surfing together and they completed their Internet License too. What great enthusiasm from both classes, thank you!

Grade 5
I have been looking through the WebQuest QuestGarden database on the topics of Ancient China, Egypt, and Rome and trying to consolidate a list of 5-10 WebQuests per ancient civilization and class. This is a big job but it was a great chance to explore the many resources that can be incorporated straight into a unit.

Currently looking for regular times to meet the Japanese, Art, PE, Music, and Drama specialists.

Christine’s Try I.T. On Monday

EduTech, Newsletters, YIS August 31, 2009

After talking with the K-5 grade level teachers last week in their unit planning meetings and visiting their students on random occasions, I thought it would be important to communicate my reflections of those meetings and visits to the teachers. There is a Daily Notice that the elementary teachers must read every morning and thought to put the message there. From next week I will prepare the blog post and then send the link to the teachers. Here’s my first message:

I’d like to thank everyone for being so kind about my move to the elementary. In the spirit of the JASCD Try I.T. On Monday Workshops that I helped host and organize at YIS in April 2009, I’d like to offer weekly connections to units in the Daily Notice and weekly gatherings to share educational technology ideas and share different strategies to implement technology in the form of 21st Century Learning Skills.

Here are the few connections I made in reflection of last week and things to share from different grades:

They created a reflection feed using Twitter. Check it out to find out what’s going on in the Kindergarten! They even embedded it into their their class portal. Did you know that since last week you can check out other grade level class sites too? If you’re interested, see what other students are up to in their classes.

Grade 1
I was shown a shape in Donna’s class that I couldn’t remember and the class shared with me that it was a hexagon, similar to how their tables were arranged :-) Thanks 1SA. They were also using KidPix last week for drawing. Here are some ideas on a blog post about how you can use Mind Maps tools like Kidspiration and Inspiration.
Kidpix, Kidspiration, and Inspiration are also available on all Student Computers and Classroom Desktops, and available to download on the Server. From the Server you just need to drag and drop the folder of each into your Applications folder.

Grade 2
All computers have arrived to Grade 2 and they have a storage unit in each room, check their space when you get a chance. Audrey used the projector and the application called Photobooth (already preinstalled in your Mac) in an interesting way to show how to fold origami. Please ask her for more details ;-)

Grade 3
It felt great to be warmly welcomed and surrounded by Sonya’s class in the ‘Media Center’ on the Kirin 2F. What a great space and what a great group of students working on profiles using ComicLife. MakeBeliefsComix is another tool if you decide to work on comic creations again ;-) Thanks for letting me join you! ComicLife is also available on all Student Computers and Classroom Desktops, and available to download from the Server. You will need a serial number to use ComicLife please send a request form to the YIS Tech Support Desk for the serial number.

Grade 4
Here are some websites I bookmarked on Delicious for the Grade 4 teachers for Unit 1. The links I listed are websites to a few cybersafety and digital citizenship websites I recommend.

Grade 5
Here is last year’s Grade 5 PYP Exhibition blog. Please check out the neat pictures and reflections using a tool called Posterous.

I’d be happy to demo any of the tools above, just email me a time and place. There will be a weekly ‘informal’ sharing tech session every Wednesday from 3pm-4pm in the Kirin 2F ‘Media Center’ – more information to come!

Looking forward to seeing the ELC this week on both Wednesday and Thursday. And looking forward to working with the PE, Music, Japanese, Art specialists in the coming weeks. Special thanks to Brian Farrell for allowing me to connect the Library with the classrooms! Thanks again to all grade level teachers for having me in your planning meetings. Really helps me connect your unit to ICT and the Library. If you have any great ideas of how to connect me to you and your classroom, let me know.

From next week I will put a simple link to my blog so as to not take so much room in the Daily Notice! Thanks for reading :-)