Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Sound Piece of Advice:

Most of us do NOT teach solely “by the seat of our pants”. Occasionally, yes. But most of us are ‘planners’. We would not dream of walking into our classrooms day after day, and say “Gee, wonder what I should teach today?”
And yet, I run into situations where the user of the technology has not planned, or practiced, using the technology for the lesson that they so vigorously had planned. Or worse, waits until the last minute. (As in “Hey, I could show an online video for this lesson” or “I remember hearing about an interactive site a few weeks ago. I could use that in my lesson today!”)
Then we are frustrated when something goes wrong. The sound won’t work. The video doesn’t go with the sound. There are pop-ups of half-naked women in the middle of the presentation (that doesn’t happen too often anymore- I remember that from my Middle School days). Your email spam folder opens when you turn on the projector. The video that you thought was 25 minutes is really a 2 minute clip. That interactive site is 3 grade levels over/under what you actually teach. Someone has inadvertently pushed the projector mute button: no projection. A plug/wire has wiggled loose somewhere.
Technology is incredible [amazing, wonderful – throw in your own superlative]… when it works. But when it does not, people tend to get frustrated and will back off of technology. It is likely that they will try again later. But for now, that magic of the animated story that you wanted to share with the kids; or the reenactment of Abe giving his Gettysburg Address is lost.
If we would all just take the time to practice, AHEAD of time, using these tools, that we are not quite familiar with or comfortable with, things would go much more smoothly.
Of course this is not to say that it will all work, all of the time ~ it doesn’t. That is when PLAN B comes in. But that is a discussion for another time.

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