Approaches to Teaching and Learning in the Diploma Programme (pre-publication guide) and the associated website focus on 5 categories for developing ATL skills across IB programmes. What is the intent of the Guide? To focus on strategies, skills and attitudes that will support students in developing the attributes in the Learner Profile, enhance their learning and better prepare students for their DP assessments and future endeavors.

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Some of these areas can be supported well through the use of technology and especially those technologies that enable anytime anywhere learning to take place.

Thinking Skills are defined in the Guide as ‘exercising initiative in applying thinking skills critically and creatively to recognize and approach complex problems and make reasoned ethical decisions’. Reflection is an important aspect of thinking and can include writing, making  presentations or capturing digital images to promote discussion.  Tools can include blogs, wikis, journals, digital stories, podcasts, videos and mind-mapping tools.

Communications Skills may involve writing and editing such as in Google docs, outlining tools and using spelling and grammar checkers. Reading may include ebooks and online texts from a range of sources. Oral communication may involve podcasts, presentations and screencasts.

Social skills intersect with communication skills in those activities which involve collaborations. This includes wikis and participation in  Facebook groups, Twitter postings, chat sessions, video conferencing, feedback to blogs and other interactions through social media.

Self-Management Skills include both organizational skills and time management skills. There are numerous apps available for mobile devices and cellphones to manage time and calendars, send reminders, and manage assignments and projects.

Research Skills are necessary for an inquiry approach for class investigations, internal assessment and the Extended Essay. Students must be taught advanced online search techniques and how to evaluate reliable online sources. They need to be able to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information.  Two invaluable online tools that also come to mind are the use of social bookmarking and online sites that create bibliographies and citations. Students need to know how to determine the ownership of information and how it may be used. They also need to be able to use online services such as Turnitin to ensure that they have adhered to IB Academic Honesty policies.

However, these 5 ATL skill categories do not occur in isolation. For example, when collaborating on a research project that uses a wiki as the space for data collection and presentation, all 5 skill areas are involved. Therefore, perhaps alternative representations for the ATL skills need to be considered.

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Approaches to Teaching and Learning in the Diploma Programme , IB Organization.