Professionals in all fields have to deal with technology failures now and again. It’s a fact of life that we all find ways to work around. But, the significance of a technology malfunction varies with circumstances and deadlines. If my husband’s conference call won’t connect he may blow a lucrative deal or miss a crucial deadline that throws a whole project off kilter. It’s awkward to make people wait while you try to fix a glitch. When my interactive board won’t connect I risk losing the entire learning day, if I’m not prepared.
I’m lucky enough to work in a school with a commitment to the effective use of technology in the classroom. My principal does not just want to see teachers and students using technology to complete traditional tasks, he wants to see us creating with technology. Our students participate in coding exercises, they create slide shows and webpages to share information, they program robots and design solutions for everyday problems like how to feed the fish over the weekend (we haven’t figured that one out yet).
And in our district we have a responsive IT department and a team of educators dedicated to supporting technology’s use in the classroom. I have ample opportunity to take classes and workshops on technology use and a team mate who has been patiently coaching us on projects. I recognize that I have in place what I need to enrich my classroom and stretch my learning and teaching.
But IT serves the whole district and they are not housed in our building. So, when something goes they can’t just pop on over to my room and fix it up for me. On the 2nd to last day before April vacation, my Promethean Board lost the ability to connect to, well, to anything. It was a hardware problem, something off with the cord that prevented it from staying snug. I fiddled with it for my entire prep time and still could not get it to work. At the end of the day, I submitted a ticket to IT. I hope they get to it over break so I return to a working board.
One of the simplest things I do with that board is to post the morning work. I still posted the work last Thursday, but it looked a little different. At least I could use the board for something.