See how Showbie helped Apple Distinguished Educator, Ed Tech Consultant, and Teacher Suzanne Lustenhouwer go paperless, personalize assignments, and apply the SAMR model to accommodate various levels of ESL students in her Amsterdam classroom.
Showbie sat down with Suzanne to find out more about her and how she came to use Showbie. Here’s what she had to say.
Showbie: Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?
SL: I am an English teacher in Amsterdam. Next to teaching, I help students integrate technology in their classrooms. In my spare time, I enjoy biking around the city and taking photos, discovering new gin & tonic recipes, and playing field hockey.
Showbie: How long have you been teaching?
SL: I have been teaching for 8 years now.
Showbie: Can you tell me what makes your school, De Nieuwe Internationale School van Esprit, unique?
SL: De Nieuwe Internationale School Esprit Amsterdam is only three years old. We started out as a school for immigrants but are now attracting local students from Amsterdam as well. What makes us unique is that we are a public school but we are able to maintain relatively small classroom sizes (maximum of 24 students) and offer a dual language program. Consequently, students can choose whether they want to take the Dutch exam or do the IB Diploma Programme.
“If I had to describe Showbie in one sentence, it makes happy teachers.”
Showbie: What’s the best thing about being a teacher?
SL: The connections made with students and seeing them grow both personally and academically.
Showbie: What are some of the biggest challenges you see when training new teachers?
SL: Most new teachers are still focused on finding their way in the school and strengthening their classroom management skills. At DENISE, we expect all teachers to create their own lesson materials. This can be a tough challenge, especially for Dutch teachers who typically rely heavily on set textbooks. I have noticed that the ease of the platform has helped these teachers to start using Showbie within a week, whereas creating iTunes U courses and their own interactive textbooks with iBooks Author requires much more professional development and time.
Showbie: How has Showbie helped you be a better teacher?
SL: Showbie has helped me become a better teacher because I do not have to worry about file management. Handing in reflection video is just as easy as a PDF document. As Showbie works with every file type with such ease the only limits to what I can ask from my students to do are the limits of my own imagination and our creativity.
Showbie: How did you first learn about Showbie?
SL: I have memories of trying out Showbie back in our 1:1 iPad Pilot in 2012 and thinking it was the best thing I have ever seen. It solved a lot of problems we were having around file management and classroom workflow. Furthermore, I was impressed with the ease with which I could get my colleagues to adopt the use of the app as well.
Showbie: What problems were you trying to solve with Showbie?
SL: At DENISE, we have new students come into our classes every week. These students usually don’t speak a lot of Dutch yet and sometimes they don’t speak English either. Using Showbie makes their transition into our school seamless as the app is intuitive, doesn’t require a lot of reading and navigating to set up, and once they join a class they can see all of the assignments that the class has previously done. This gives the students the opportunity to either look back into missed work, join the class in progress, or receive individual assignments from the teachers.
Furthermore, the fact that Showbie can handle any file format gives teachers a lot of freedom in the type of activities they give to students. Many of the language acquisition activities are simple boring worksheets. We are now able to easily keep a record of their speaking skills by asking them to add voice notes to the worksheets. Similarly, teachers can easily add voice notes as feedback to students who are more adept to listening than reading.