Teacher perspectives on tech…


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.



At our school, teachers complain that the computers are not fast enough, parents complain if their child doesn’t get the teacher they hoped for, students complain if they don’t get into the sports team of their choice…

To gain some perspective on the insignificance of our complaints, we should perhaps take a moment to read about the discrimination against Dalits (‘untouchable caste’) in Gujarat, India, and the impact this has on children in schools.

An article in The Times of India yesterday described mid-day meals in schools thus:

“We are made to sit separately during the lunch hour,” says Vijay Sitapara, 9, who belongs to the Valmiki caste, the lowest of the socially downtrodden. Vijay, who studies in class IV at the government primary school in Modhvana, says schoolmates from other castes avoid having food with them.

While other backward class children would still have food, though seated separately from the Dalits, higher caste pupils stay away altogether from mid-day meals at this school because the food is cooked by a Dalit. “I come from a Dalit family. Naturally, higher caste members will not eat what I cook,” says Gauri Vankar.

Even as the syllabus teaches equality, students learn lessons in untouchability in practice. All Dalit students are forbidden from participating in cultural events. Valmikis have to also clean up school toilets. ..”

See the whole article here and others from The Times of India about the issues of Dalit rights here and here.

PYP Key Concept: Perspective.   Series of posts through the lens of key concepts of PYP.

photo from flickr by Feuilla