Warren Apel joined ASIJ in 2016. He has worked in international education for over 20 years, including positions at Cairo American College, the American Embassy School in New Delhi, India and the International School of Amsterdam. He is a Google for Education Certified Innovator, an Apple Distinguished Educator and a National Board Certified Teacher. His wife Tricia is a math teacher at ASIJ. Warren enjoys traveling, cooking and exploring Tokyo by bicycle.
All teachers and school leaders are lifelong learners—that goes with the territory. Taking a year away from education and plunging into the world of technology startups gave me a whole new level of education. I learned about finance and venture capital as well as trends in technology. Most of all, I learned about change management and project planning. Schools are known for being slow to change, and startups have to be nimble and flexible. My experiences in the startup world have helped me improve my ability to manage large-scale school change projects.
I love watching teachers use real-time feedback for interventions. We have systems that allow a teacher to see how all the students are doing on an assessment. If they see that a particular student has a misconception, or if the majority of students aren't grasping a certain concept, the teacher can pause and intervene. With access to real-time data, a teacher doesn't have to wait until the work has been turned in and graded before they know what the students have learned.
In the future, I'd like to see all that data combined into a single unified dashboard—a system where a teacher or counselor can see at a glance how a student is doing socially, emotionally and academically, and can help tailor their learning based on all of that information.
Google Maps, for sure. It's perfect for traveling abroad and for getting around Tokyo. It helps me with public transportation and walking directions, and also with finding restaurants and things to do. I use Google Maps to post photos of the places I visit, which gives me a practical use for the photos I take. Instead of existing only my phone, my photos provide information to the global community. I also feel like being able to see my location on a map helps give me the context to understand where I am and where I have been.