Teach.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Tech

http://www.flickr.com/photos/14275763@N08/
     Some teachers can't wait for the latest tech and they complain about lack of connectivity.  But, to paraphrase an old cliche', you may want to rethink what you ask for.  Once you have tech in your classroom you always have to have a backup plan for the day (or days) you don't have any tech in your classroom.

     In many of the schools I have worked in it was required to have a folder of emergency lesson plans for that unexpected day when you won't be in class and your sub needs something to do .  Well, in a high tech school you should have the same mindset.

     This past week we had an Internet outage mid-day.  Many of the classes came to a near standstill as students were unable to access the Internet.  Before the end of the day we had been told that we could expect that we would not have Internet access the following day.

     I sent out an email that night to teachers asking if the loss of Internet for the following day was going to change what they had planned.  Or were they going to have a normal day because they weren't expecting to need any Internet for the activities they had planned.

     Many of the teachers were going to alter their original plans but many were fortunate and the loss of Internet did not have any affect on their schedule.  Of those teachers changing what they had planned, all but one were making minor changes that would have been transparent to the students.  The one teacher who responded, who did plan on changing, completely, what they were doing, was going to have the students work on something that would have been accomplished later in the week.

     Our teachers, to their credit, have learned that technology can (and will) stop working at an inopportune time.  They want to know when it will be fixed and they may even get a bit cranky, but they understand that teaching doesn't stop just because the technology isn't there.

     Do you have a backup plan for that day you are going to Skype with an author?  How about for that day you are going to be researching Australia's Great Barrier Reef?  What do you do with 25 teen-agers who have brought in food and drink and were set to have an engineering design party while watching Apollo 13 only to find you can't get the movie to show?

     You are a teacher first.  You will lose the use of your technology at a time that is inconvenient.  Just relax, take a deep breath, and repeat after me - we don't need no stinkin' technology!