Yokohama International School (YIS), located in Yokohama, Japan (Japan’s second largest city and right next to Tokyo), is the second-oldest international school in the world, founded in 1924. Our community comprises families from around the world, with a diverse mix of nationalities including American, Japanese, British, Australian, Canadian, Singaporean, Thai, Dutch, French, German, Portuguese, Finnish, and more. We don’t have any one dominant nationality, and the language of instruction is English. YIS is an IB World School, implementing the PYP, MYP, and Diploma Programs. We have around 650 students, and we are located right within the city of Yokohama, on a bluff overlooking Yokohama Bay.
YIS is unique for many reasons, including our amazing organic cafeteria catering company, Zest JP, our International Center for Japanese Culture, our Connected Learning Community (one-to-one program), our Early Learning Center, which combines Reggio Emilia and the PYP, and our history of innovative and creative initiatives (like our recent miniconference, #beyondlaptops).
Students at the International School use tech for a variety of programs.YIS began our Connected Learning Community last school year. As part of our CLC, we provide the following:
• A fully equipped and software-rich MacBook Pro or Air (including Adobe CS5, iLife, MS Office, iWork, and a wide variety of subjectspecific software) available for all students in grades 6–12 to take home;
• Fully equipped and software-rich MacBook laptop carts for grades K-4 that are shared across the grade level;
• A class set of iPads for grades K-1 that include regularly updated, developmentally appropriate apps;
• A public access blog for all teachers and students hosted on our YIS Learning Hub; • Regular parent-training sessions about the skills students are learning, the big ideas of how to learn when technology is constantly changing, and the critical issues involved in raising a digital child;
• A primary focus on safe and responsible digital citizenship through our Digital Dragons curriculum.
We also provide our two-day orientation at the start of each school year, we invite special guests to work with students and parents, and we host our annual Digital Citizenship week.
Kim Cofino is the 21st Century Literacy Specialist at the International School in Yokohama, Japan.