Google Reference School – Kaohsiung American School

Welcome to the Kaohsiung American School! KAS was established in 1989 with just 13 elementary students, with the aim of providing an American-style education to expatriates living in Kaohsiung. Today we have 800 students enthusiastically engaged in their education in one of the nicest campuses in the whole of Asia. Technology has supported this growth by enabling a deep and meaningful collaboration across the entire school community.

Our strategic plan for learning technology is divided into three parts: lead, collaborate, and share. In the past, student-teacher interaction were happening exclusively face to face. Today, teachers and students can communicate and work together without being bound by physical proximity or school hours.  

In 2012, we initiated the roll-out of a 1-to-1 initiative from grades 6 through grade 12. With an emphasis on teacher training and greater student engagement, Google Apps for EDU was deployed to both faculty and students. Thanks to their ease of deployment, 100 Chromebooks were able to extend our 1-to-1 all the way to grade 3.

With over almost a million documents shared in the cloud now, we are delighted by the ways our community can collaborate within and outside of the classroom. This year we inaugurated our new Faculty and Student portal based on Google Sites. Sites’ uses of permissions similar to Google Drive made it a breeze to create private collaborative spaces.

Two teams, the Tech Ambassadors amongst faculty and the Tech Crew for students, model leadership in technology. These early adopters help spread innovation across campus including Google Classroom and Google Cardboard VR headsets.

Emboldened by this success, students are further demonstrating their leadership skills by using Google Drive, Google Classroom and Google Calendar to manage the extra-curricular clubs they run. In fact, KAS Google accounts have become so essential to their education that graduating seniors are now allowed to keep their access forever. It is a great way for our alumni to remain in touch with their former classmates and teachers.

Our goal is to continue to increase the visibility of these success stories across our campus by sharing them with our own staff in the KAS Google+ community and with like-minded educators across the Taiwanese GEGs.

Embedding technology into our new campus, inaugurated in May 2015, has been orchestrated around two main axes: accessibility and simplicity. To enable a fully student-centric environment, specific attention was paid to deploying the most reliable wireless coverage we could provide. This was successfully tested when during a general power outage, Internet access was maintained for all. Connected to this robust network, wireless interactive projectors allow faculty and students to take control of the classroom and present their information in an instant.

Although technology is ubiquitous at KAS, our IT team is small. Supporting many flexible working spaces for various meetings was not an option. Instead we integrated smart one-touch control panels in each of the conference rooms. This simple solution means that any team can walk into a room and at the press of a button begin a video conference meeting without any extra help.

This combination of technology and user-centric design has transformed our school. Faculty and students were extremely honored when Google recognized Kaohsiung American School as a Google Reference School in the summer of 2016. It is the consecration of all their efforts to model digital age work, creativity and innovation.

Victor Boulanger

Director of learning technology