Technology in PYP Workshops? Absolutely!

iphone okWaaaay back in November I had the pleasure of joining the fabulous Paul Langtree to deliver a workshop on Collaborative Planning in the PYP at Seisen International School in Tokyo. I feel it was the best workshop I’ve done to date – the staff were fantastic, open-minded and enthusiastic, and Paul was so great to work with, I felt I had known him all my life!

I was determined to incorporate more technology in the planning and delivery of the workshop than the last PYP workshop I did. Since my conversion to the benefits of backchannel chats, I felt it would be a worthy endeavour!

Luckily for me, Paul was totally on board. Together we used Google Docs to share our resources  and create our workshop plan. We set up a very basic weebly for participants to use, which incorporated some of the videos we showed, and contained a wallwisher to replace the traditional burning questions chart. We set up several laptops for participants to use if they felt so inclined, but of course many of them brought their own. Phones were also welcome.


  • Participants checking out the website of the author of an article we shared on their iPhones – they were totally on-task and used technology to further their understanding of the material covered, and learn more about the author.
  • The questions on the wallwisher were great – and many added them at home after the first session.
  • Participants accessing their planners using their laptops – this meant they could type straight onto their planners, avoiding the need for someone to type it up later.
  • It really felt as though the technology was invisible – it was just another tool for people to use if they wished, not a big deal that required a whole lot of explanation and preparation.

Next Steps

  • I’m not sure if the PYP workshop is the best forum for a backchannel chat (as engaging participants in face-to-face conversation is one of the main aims), but I haven’t ruled it out by any means. I have a workshop coming up in February, so it will give me an opportunity to explore some more options.

Photo Credit: Mastrobiggo

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