It is so frustrating that the tech. in Ed. World is so full of what to dos and not a lot of how to dos (if this makes sense). This post is a start. A start at providing teachers with some ideas on what to do when technology fails in the classroom.
1. Know the content you were going to cover before the lesson: If technology fails, you can revert to using a white/black board and the old fashined whiteboard marker (did I just call that old-fashioned?).
2. Have a back up iPad/Android App. to use. At the start of your term, find an iPad or otherwise App. that the students could use to help them understand the topic better.
3. Have students work in teams and have a debate or quiz on a related topic. They have to come up with a quiz questions about the unit being studied. The goal is for one team to score as many points as is possible. Both groups create quiz questions to ask of the other group. You keep going until there is a clear 2 point winner.
Turn failure into a positive: This can be done a number of ways:
Begin to develop a repetoire of skills of what to do that doesn’t involve sending a student to a photocopier machine and asking them to photocopy the worksheet that you had placed on the LMS. This might include:
Make sure you have a copy of the worksheet on your hard drive, USB or other hard disk (if it is the LMS or the Internet) has failed. This way, you can post the worksheet up onto a data projector.
Do a think/pair/share activity based on the current learning topic.
If you were planning on showing a YouTube video, look for alternative videos, DVD’s or just explain to students that the Internet or LMS or Youtube is down, so we’ll need to learn this material from the old fashioned text book. If it is just the LMS that is down, then re-find the video on YouTube and just play that.
- In English, History/Geography: Having an open discussion/debate on the topic; have students do a re-enactment of that part of the book or part of history.
- In Mathematics lessons: Send a child to the library to borrow out some dice and do a probability/statistics lesson. Go outside and estimate and measure real perimeter, area and composite volumes of shapes and irregular shapes. Challenge the students to find real life examples of calculus, algebra, etc. and then create their own problem.
- In tech. subjects, turn the programming lesson into a design lesson. Usually the Internet, website or LMS is only down for a few minutes. While it is down, get the students to plan out their next steps of the program on paper. Do a non-internet based demonstration in front of the class.
We can no longer continue to throw our hands up in the air and give up on technology. If Education is going to be relevent to the generation we are working with, then technology is going to be an essential component of your classroom. I revert to a quote I often use. Teachers who fail to use technology won’t be replaced by technology. They will be replaced by teachers who do use technology.