Real teaching with technology by numbers

From an email that’s been doing the rounds:

“I went into class this morning with the naïvely optimistic expectation that the set of laptops I had brought in with me would actually work.

They did not.

By the numbers:

8 – number of laptops I brought into class

6 – the number of which successfully booted up

5 – the number that successfully loaded Internet Explorer

3 – the number that successfully loaded a webpage

2 – the number that froze up permanently when the screensaver came on

1 – laptop which successfully loaded IE and the site we wanted to use and didn’t freeze up

10 – the number of students taught less effectively as their teacher fooled with the laptops for too much of the lesson

4 – the number of minutes wasted writing this email

Consider yourselves warned”

If anyone knows where it originated, I’d love to know by email but I’m sure the school in question would not want their identity revealed here!

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15 Responses to Real teaching with technology by numbers

  1. Alex Case says:

    How would raincoats help?

  2. har har har oh dear……

  3. Mark Jochim says:

    Sounds like our school — 1000 students, 80 teachers and now only a half-dozen computers that work (sometimes), only two of which we are allowed to use a USB thumb drive on (hard to edit/save our lesson plans, images for Phonics lessons, etc.). They removed Microsoft Office as they hadn’t been using a legal copy of that since I started working here almost three years ago. Mired in a mess and then the Thai admin staff wonder why our weekly reports, assessments, etc. are late (oh, yes — you can only print from the two machines which allow use of the USB ports)…

  4. Helen says:

    Very similar to my recent experience for my Certificate in Teaching with Technology. Spent hours planning the final assessed project – about 20 backup plans if a part of the plan failed and on the day, as well as the hardware problems, the Internet connection was so slow and unreliable that all of my backup plans and more quick thinking on the spot somehow got me through the lesson. The good news is that the students still loved it and said they got a lot more out of the class than they would have without the technology(!) – I, on the hand, had never worked so hard in my life and was almost ready to throw the towel in at the end of the class. Technology is great when it works – but all too often it doesn´t. I believe technology is a necessary component of our teaching but for us to use it effectively we need reliable equipment and support – unfortunately it´s not always available.

  5. Sigh….

    An all-too-familiar story with schools buying equipment and then failing to maintain it or hire a teacher who can look after things and ensure everything is running fine. I’ve come across it occasionally, but I’ve also come across decent schools where there is someone who checks all the equipment at the end of the day so that it will all be working again the following day.

    And of course, using Internet Explorer you’re asking for it. I agree with Darren – get some decent computers, download Firefox and find yourself someone to lok after the equipment. You’d be surprised how easy it is to end up with working computers which can be used effectively.


  6. Jennifer says:

    Oh, I had one of those days today as well. We have new computers which are running Vista and the newest version of MS Office (which of course must have cost a fortune)….all the kids have XP and the older version of Office at home (because no one can afford to keep upgrading to the newest versions), which means they have to go through the rigamarole of Saving As the older version at school before sending work home to work on…..or else they spend all this time working on gorgeous presentations, only to have the school network eat them, never to be seen again. I finally convinced all my kids to install OpenOffice at home, and now I have to work on the admin of our school to forget MS Office and install OpenOffice on the school computers.

    on top of this, I’m a Mac person, and yet I have to troubleshoot the PCs…thankfully I can do it a little.

  7. Sandy says:

    Chalk-n-talk – you can’t beat it!

  8. Mark Bain says:

    “I went into class this morning with the naïvely optimistic expectation that the set of whiteboard markers I had brought in with me would actually work.

    They did not.

    By the numbers:

    8 – number of markers I brought into class

    3 – the number of markers which actually worked

    2 – the number of markers which were green, and therefore all but invisible to the students

    1 – the number of markers which were actually permanent markers…

    Consider yourselves warned”

    Naïve is naïve.

  9. Mark Bain says:

    Helen, how come you were doing a Certificate in Teaching with Technology without being given access to adequate technology? Or were you doing the assessed lesson in your own school?

  10. Zzzzziiiiing!!

    Exactly Mark, exactly!

  11. Alex Case says:

    Very witty Mark, but I can’t really see what the point you are making is. That we can’t expect our schools to provide anything that works??

  12. Mark Bain says:

    I’m sure the computers, CD players, board markers, OHPs or whatever worked perfectly when they were brand spanking new. But things get old and stop working so well. So as professional teachers, we should make sure all the tools we are planning to use are in working order before we start the lesson. It’s part of lesson planning, isn’t it?

  13. Alex Case says:

    Really? You go into your classroom and check if every computer, every board pen, every CD player and every OHP is working long enough before your class so that you can get it fixed if it isn’t? For every class?? Or wouldn’t taking in a couple of extra computers or board pens be professional enough?

  14. Mark Bain says:

    Not long enough to get it fixed, but long enough to find a replacement if there’s one available, or, if not, to rethink that part of the lesson.

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