This week was a borderline technological nightmare for some of the staff at my school, me included. First the bulb on a projector attached to an interactive white board died with only half its estimated hours used. The teacher had to wait 4 days for a replacement bulb to arrive. Then the wireless projector in our conference room wouldn’t connect to the principal’s laptop during the annual State of Our School presentation to district leadership. The next day the library checkout system crashed mid-way through checking out books to a 3rd grade class. The day after that the entire district Internet crashed while a group of 4th graders were finishing Glogster webpages with me in the computer lab.
Technology is great, but it isn’t 100% reliable. That’s why it is important to always have a back-up plan. When planning your technology lessons, take into consideration that sometimes things go wrong. What if the power goes out? a bulb dies? the internet crashes? the batteries in your remote die? Every teacher has their own bag of tricks for on the fly lessons and activities. Have you include back-up technology in yours? Here are a few questions you should know the answers to.
*Do you know what equipment your school owns, where it is located, and how you can access it?
*Is there a central stash of batteries somewhere in your school or do you need keep your own?
*Do you have a hard copy of web sites or online resources in case the Internet crashes?
*If you have a digital camera in your classroom, do you have quick access to a card reader or download cable?
*Do you have back-up copies of your computer files in case your computer crashes?
What do you have in your technology back-up kit?
All was not lost in my school this week. Thankfully we keep a few spare projectors around, so our principal had me set one up for her presentation to the superintendent and leadership team. The teacher whose projector bulb died had chart paper handy that she used while she waited for the new bulb. In the library, we grabbed a digital camera to photograph students and the barcodes for their books. The barcodes were scanned later from the photos. And the Internet crashing provided a great opportunity for me to review the rubric for the 4th grade Glogster pages.