As a group of new teachers to NIST, you will likely arrive with a huge variety of experience in using technology to support student learning. Our technology team is there to help you in the first few weeks as you understand our school systems. Over the first term and into the future, you will have lots of opportunities to work with one of the Digital Learning Coaches to help with your professional growth.
The following resources will be help you get up to speed with our key systems and your new MacBook Air.
Your first session when you collect your laptop will get you connected. This will be followed the next day to cover the bare essentials. Another session in the first week will provide in-depth information about key systems. During your first weeks and year, you will come to learn all of the tools.
At this point, we recommend that you simply review each of these sections and watch some of the training videos that are available in order to get a sense of the way technology is integrated into our community.
Consistent communication is essential in a school of NIST’s size and reputation. Parents expect and deserve concise, quality information, making it essential for all staff to understand the systems we use and the standards we follow. During the orientation, you will complete a workshop on the NIST identity, where you will learn more about our school’s values and standards in this area. However, you can access some of this information now on the NIST website.
We are fortunate to have a technology-rich community, and we use multiple systems to communicate with one another, and with parents and students. As you begin to prepare for your transition to NIST, this page will familiarize you with some of the key ways that you can communicate with parents. The central hub for communication is the NIST Staff Portal, which provides key information and links to each of the other systems. To access this after receiving your NIST username and password, you simply need to click on the icon on the upper right side of the website (or through the “hamburger” menu on mobiles) and select the staff icon.
General communications are handled by the Communications Department through the NIST website, weekly NIST News e-newsletter, community emails, non-student and staff websites, and social media. Teachers are encouraged to submit content to the department and to promote learning, events and other activities that may be happening in the school. However, you will personally be responsible for your class, student and parent communication through three key systems:
NIST’s information management system, Veracross, is crucial to almost all departments, whether academic or non-academic. In addition to housing all student information, it also has a powerful communications tool, class sites and much more. Full training is provided separately for Veracross due to its importance.
NIST uses GMail as an email platform, and you will receive your login by middle of May. GMail can be accessed on any of your devices by entering your account credentials. Names and groups are fully searchable within GMail, consistent school pictures are added by the school, and everyone uses a NIST standard signature, which you will refine during orientation. If you are not familiar with GMail, several tutorials are available.
Blogs & Seesaw
Students use Seesaw in elementary and WordPress blogs in secondary to communicate learning, and many school sites are also built using the WordPress backend, but we are transitioning to Veracross.
Teacher and Faculty Device(s)
- At NIST, all teachers and faculty are issued with a MacBook Air computer (8GB RAM and 256GB SSD).
- Students in the elementary school use 1:1 iPads for their learning.
- Students in the secondary school use 1:1 MacBook Air laptops.
- You can bring a personal computer/laptop to Thailand if you wish.
- We allow all community members to join NIST wifi with their own devices.
- SIM cards are readily available and relatively inexpensive.
- There are good sources for electronics in BKK at reasonable prices.
- Internet service is easy to get in your house/apartment (contact our Logistics team if you require assistance).
- IT Dept. provides help at school getting personal devices set up.
We are a G Suite School
We use GMail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, and other Google apps to collaborate and create. If you’re coming from a Google school, you should feel right at home using these tools at NIST. If you are unfamiliar with G Suite, here is a brief introduction to a few of the ways in which it can improve your practice.
GMail is an integral part of our organization together with the notices in the staff portal.
- You can access your GMail from the portal or via the following link with your school username in the format email@example.com at http://mail.nist.ac.th or https://mail.google.com.
- You can email any staff member or student by typing their name into the address field. If you need to email an entire class you can do this directly from our Veracross system.
- Your staff photo will be automatically added to your GMail.
- You should also refine your email signature.
- If you are new to using GMail the following resources from Google are useful: GMail Learning Centre
- We strongly recommend the web version of GMail as this provides easy access to our email databases.
The core of our workflow is Google Drive, where we create, share, and store documents. Using your NIST GAFE account makes it easy to collaborate with your colleagues and students.
Many NIST teachers have embraced Google Classroom as an easy way to communicate with students, post assignments and important information, receive student work and provide feedback. If you would like to explore these tools further, Google’s product page has short demonstrations that cover most of the tools you will be using.
Although it is not required, we highly encourage all NIST staff members to use Google Chrome as their web browser. Chrome allows you to sign in with your NIST account, sync your bookmarks, web history, and extensions across any device, and easily access the many GAFE applications we use (e.g. GMail, Google Drive, Calendar, etc.). Familiarity with Chrome will make your transition to technology at NIST that much easier!
NIST uses several cloud-based systems to manage all student information, learning activities, curriculum documents, and business information. Together, we think they form a robust and complete system to meet the needs of the community. Here is an explanation of each of the systems and a video to help you visualize.
Student Information System (Veracross)
NIST uses a web-based student information system called Veracross for students, parents, teachers, and support staff to manage student and business information. From purchase orders to attendance and report cards, it does it all. There will be more time later in your orientation to NIST to learn how to use the system. The video above should have given you a good taste of what to expect from Veracross.
Curriculum at NIST is found in several locations depending on the programme. However, teaching and learning resources is managed within Google Drive shared folders.
PYP curriculum documents are housed in Google Drive shared folders by team, and the programme of inquiry is managed by the deputy head of elementary for curriculum.
MYP curriculum documents are housed in Managebac which uses the MYP unit planners and allows interdisciplinary units and has a curriculum analytics tool to allow staff members to map elements of the curriculum from criteria to key concepts. Each unit planner should have a link to a departmental shared Google Drive folder of resources for the teacher and/or students. Lesson by lesson documentation is not mandated by the school.
Diploma programme curriculum is currently found in subject guides of the IB.
NIST uses Google Apps for Education, so all teachers can use Google Classroom for managing classroom activities and learning resources for students. We see more use of Classroom with secondary teachers than with elementary teachers. Keep in mind that parents can not see anything in Google Classroom unless they look over the shoulder of their child.