We don’t all see the world in the same way

By Mark Dawes (June 2020)

It has taken me a while to realise that Zoom and Teams look different on a PC, on an iPad and on a Mac.  For example, the Zoom toolbar might be in the middle of the bottom of the screen (PC), or in the top right-hand corner (iPad).

Some features are only available if you are the host (eg putting people into breakout rooms).

Some features behave differently depending on the way an organisation has set up the program (eg some organisations ensure only the host can share their screen).

It is also possible to customise your own version of the software, so you could have everyone in a strip along the top of the screen, or down the right-hand side.

If you are used to using Google Hangouts, or WebEx, or Big Blue Button, or Skype (remember that?), then there are other different features available, and all of these programs work in slightly different ways.

So when the host of a meeting, or leader of some training, says:

“Click on the menu bar along the bottom of the screen”

“Tap on the 3 dots”

“Share your screen”

… those who are participating might not be able to do these things because their version of Zoom has been set up differently or works differently because they are using a different type of device.

Seeing the world differently

I have found this a useful reminder that not everyone sees things in the same way.  People might have different prior experiences from me, or might be working with something that looks different from the way it looks to me.

This happens in the classroom too

There are occasions when not everyone sees things in the same way in the classroom.  Part of the problem is that we might consider the same representation in different ways.

For example, sometimes I want to think of this shape as being a pentagon (if I am interested in its angles, when tessellating, or when transforming it) and sometimes I want to consider it to be a rectangle with a triangle on top (when I am working out area or perimeter).  If my students are using the other version of the representation, then that can lead to confusion.

It took me a while to realise that others literally see the world differently from the way I do when using Zoom.  I need to bear in mind that this is also likely to be true in the classroom, during training sessions, and in a work group.

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