Teacher perspectives on tech…

Teachers

Circle of viewpoints is a thinking routine that helps students consider different points of view. It might be used to consider diverse perspectives on a topic, to personalise text, to develop empathy or to open a discussion about a dilemma or moral issue.

The routine involves taking on the character of someone with a particular viewpoint, thinking about the issue from their perspective and asking a question they might ask. See the Project Zero website for details of how the routine is used.

I’d like to use this routine to consider and express teachers’ perspectives in relation to technology. I think it’s important to try and understand the different viewpoints, so that each group can receive the kind of support they need.

Group 1

We resist technology. We don’t get the point of spending ages logging into the computer and figuring out new tools, when we can achieve the same thing with a pen and paper. We think kids these days spend far too much time in front of a screen, whether it’s a TV or a computer.  This stops them from playing and from interacting with other human beings. We need to protect our kids, so it’s best not to have their work online in a public forum where unknown people could make inappropriate comments. We are really busy and don’t have time to experiment with new computer tools. Why do we need to change?

Group 2

We understand that the world has changed and we want to integrate technology, but we lack confidence. We don’t feel comfortable with technology yet and we are easily discouraged when things go wrong.  We don’t feel in control of the learning because we don’t feel in control of the technology. We are keen to try but we still need lots of support.  Sometimes we feel uncomfortable admitting that we need the support so it’s easier to do things in old ways. We come away from PD sessions feeling inspired and enthused, but then we lose motivation when we try to manage the technology on our own.   We sometimes feel intimidated by the people who seem to find technology easy to manage. How can we catch up and keep up?

Group 3

We have adopted technology. We understand that the learning is what drives everything, but we are willing to try and integrate appropriate tech tools to enhance the learning. We feel comfortable enough to experiment with tools we haven’t used before and to get support when we need it. We don’t give up, even when things don’t go the way we planned. We are willing to hand over more control to the students. We want our students’ learning to be seen and commented on by an authentic audience. We want to flatten the classroom walls, bring in experts via skype, have our kids interact with people in other parts of the world. We are prepared to put in the time required to mastering new skills and exploring new tools. We realise that we will never ‘get there’, there will always be more to learn. How can we best engage our students and support their learning?

Which group are you in? If you’re here reading a blog, you probably aren’t in Group 1.  (Let’s try and encourage them).  If you’re in Group 2 and you’re reading this, take another step forward and write a comment!  Whichever group you are in, let’s recognise that we are all lifelong learners and just take one step forward at a time.


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10 thoughts on “Teacher perspectives on tech…

  1. Another great post, can I use this in an upcoming Techie Breakie? I feel i am finally dragging some of my staff into group 2 and this would be the perfect tool to help them see where we are heading.

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  2. Thank you for this post Edna. I’m in Group 3, but a lot of our teachers are in Group 2 and some are in Group 1 and it is hard to know how to reach out and support them. Right now I’m trying to work with the Group 2 teachers and I’m hoping their successes will allow those in Group 1 to see the positive impact technology has on student learning and perhaps inspire them to try something new themselves.

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  3. Honestly, Edna, I used to be in the 3rd. I made a website last year, used tech tools almost daily with my 4th grade, wanted to make a more powerful, collaborative one this year (for the 1st graders) but things went from bad to worse. Financial problems, as well as administrative decisions prevented me from doing what I wanted so badly. Technology integration is to some a luxury when the internet bills are not paid or other issues in school become a priority to the school board.😦
    I cannot tell the level of frustration and to some extent, sadness, that overwhelm me sometimes especially AFTER I learnt so much about technology, digital literacy and its power.
    I keep myself updated though (hence the Twitter account, the Google Reader, the blogs I read, educators I follow) in case things will change.

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    1. I’m so sorry this has happened. How sad and frustrating. It’s a reality check for us not to take things for granted. When I read your comment, I felt quite guilty about the complaining I have been doing about some tech issues we have at school.

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  4. A great way of looking at the issue. You’re right to encourage this strategy, as we constantly ask our students to do this too. Most of the teachers I work with would fall into the Group 2 category, but we still have some in Group 1. Even the Group 2 teachers lament the time issue – everyone is hectic doing so many things that they often find it difficult to find the time to have a go at things themselves. I’m encouraging “baby steps”, and suggesting just 15 mins every day to have a look at something new.

    Thanks for another great post.

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  5. I wish I could use more technology in my classroom at the moment. I am a tech “geek” to start with, and it shows in class. We use google docs to collaborate (inside and outside of school), we write emails, we have used voicethread (finally), we made and used wikis and there is still so much more to explore.

    Next year I hope that we have more opportunities technology-wise at school! I am not a traditional thinker at all!

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  6. Ed, the Circle of Viewpoints is the perfect way to understand other perspectives. Technology in schools seems to be an especially touchy issue. Some love it and some don’t understand why they would even consider it. Being able to step inside another’s shoes and be empathetic to their viewpoint is important.
    I think you know which camp I am in🙂

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