You can’t win ’em all

desk No, you can’t win ’em all, but you have to persist with a can do mentality when it comes to technology. Today was not one of the best days with technology, but there were some really high spots. My new office has a new,clever desk so I brought an old keyboard from home and hooked it up to my laptop and am loving it. So much easier on me, so much nicer to use under those conditions and besides, it’s fun. Another monitor would make it brilliant. Sometimes you just have to have all the technology. By contrast, my classroom technology was a trial. Test, maybe. Test of my skills and lessons in patience and tolerance. This morning it was all good and I could make good use of all my files, the students’ files and my IWB. We achieved so much, covered so much ground and it was all so easy because we all had laptops. Even the student whose laptop would not boot was delighted I could offer her an iPad after she took her technology behaving badly to the technicians. For her it was a nice change and she was happy to use an iPad. It was different and fun for her. Then we came to last lesson which really put us all to the test. 31 very active year 9s and then an LMS which would not load so I could not do the roll, a board which would not connect and my whole lesson revolved around technology and what I had on my laptop and what they had on their iPads. You cannot put 31 year 9s on hold in last lesson and say , twiddle your toes because the board is not working. We don’t have books.We don’t have paper. So what do I do when it all seemingly falls apart like that? I teach! I got out my trusty blue writing stick and wrote things on the board. A to do list. First we were going to try the Edmettle site because it was blocked last week. Yes! We could get onto it and we did the things I had put on the board. The students liked using a new site and were asking some good questions. The lesson I was going to present took an interesting turn. Their electronic versions of the workbook and coursebook did not have the pages I wanted them to use. I checked in disbelief on their iPad and they were right. I always take screenshots of the exercises I am going to use on the board. Why? It means only that particular part of the page is in view. We are totally focussed on that and extraneous page information cannot interrupt cognitive flow. Like a comic strip I just focus their learning one frame at a time. Thank heavens. So I loaded the images up onto the LMS which was now available to me and did the roll while they were downloading them. Bingo. We were in the business of learning. The iPads displayed the images well so that they only focussed on each exercise one at a time. They were in control. I was in control. It wasn’t the lesson I had planned but when it comes to technology  work arounds are of paramount importance. While, at times, I was walking and talking them through the work, I kept trying to get a board connection. No HDMI connection, no Apple TV option but finally, 5 minutes before the end of the lesson, I got a VGA connection. They laughed. “You have a big board, why aren’t you using it all?” Good question. “Because it’s a VGA connection and I haven’t adjusted the resolution yet. Patience!” That lesson taught me and them a lot. I could get my content across but we were learning to haul as a team through a troubled spot without getting ourselves off task. You don’t always get what you want. Sometimes you get what you need.  The team effort was great so even though you can’t win ’em all ,you can capitalise on any given situation if you adopt a multi mode delivery option.

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