September 12, 2014

5 phases of technology loss

Filed under: edtech,edtech coaching,teaching — Candace Hackett Shively @ 9:04 am

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 3.43.14 PMOne of the most frustrating times for any teacher is when the technology breaks down just as you finally got your students prepped and ready to accomplish a task. You were finally able to sign out the laptop cart or ipad cluster. You finally had the kids ready to roll, and  –boom– the site went down, the Internet crashed, the batteries died, or your chosen tool changed to pay-for service in the last 48 hours!

Then we go through five phases of technology loss:

1. Chaos: The time between the first student calling out, “It doesn’t work!” or “File not found!” or “I’m getting a spinny wheel!” or “It’s asking me for my credit card!” and when we regain enough class attention to ask what happened — and hear only one answer at a time.

2. Realization: The moment when we realize that this is not a temporary glitch or human error. The task at hand is dead, gone, notgunnahappentoday.

3. Improv: What we do/say to maintain some sort of facade of meaningful activity, usually getting out a book or handout. We may have enough improv experience and lesson plan recall to come up with a think-pair-share on the fly, “Talk to your neighbor and generate a list of the most important ideas you were going to include in your (fill in the name of the project here).”

4. Venting: What we do in the teachers’ room over lunch as we retell the nightmare story and vow never to try that activity again— at least not until we can get the laptops for another day.

5. Shuffling: What we do in our lesson plans to try to jam the activity in again before it becomes meaningless.

In a dream world, we could simply flipflop tomorrow’s plan with today’s at phase 3 (with no loss of time to phases 1 and 2), sign up for the laptops/ipads for tomorrow, and do the activity then. We would find an alternative for the no-longer-free tool (check on TeachersFirst!), rewrite any directions accordingly, and miraculously accomplish both tomorrow’s and today’s objectives (HA!).

But wait. There are school pictures during this period tomorrow. Start over at phase 4.

The one phase we never reach is Payback Time. This is the phase of technology loss where we somehow regain the time that has disappeared.

As an edtech coach, Payback Time is the one goodie I wish I could give out. I do my darnedest to ease the pain, but I cannot add minutes back into your class time after the day goes awry. The best I can do is to show you ways to steal a few minutes here and there over the next week  by leveraging tools well and letting the kids solve some of the problems themselves.  But I know that time will never add up to what was lost. Maybe some chocolate will help?


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