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Monday, August 20, 2018

What To Do When Your Classroom Technology Fails

In my previous post I highlighted five things that you can do to make sure that your classroom technology is ready for the new school year. But even if you do all of those things, there will still be times when things don't go as expected. Here are a few things that you can do when classroom technology isn't working as expected.

#1 - Plan
So you can't actually do this when the technology fails. You have to do this before your technology. Here's a few things to account for in your planning:
  • Test the site/ app on your school's wi-fi network not just on your home network. 
  • Have an alternate lesson plan or at least a variation on your lesson plan that doesn't require internet access. 
  • Know who to call for help. If you're trying something new, ask your tech integration specialist or a member of IT staff if he/she can come to your classroom at the beginning of your lesson. 

#2 - It's Not Me, It's You!
You could be doing everything right and still run into problems that are out of your control. If you find that a site isn't working as expected, enter its URL into Down For Everyone Or Just Me? to determine if the site itself is down. 

#3 - Pop-ups and Cookies
Not allowing pop-ups or cookies is the culprit in many cases of a web app not working as expected. I frequently see this in the cases of teachers and students using browser-based services that offer audio and video recording capabilities. 

#4 - Hotspot
If you absolutely must have internet access for your lesson and you can afford it, you could use your own mobile hotspot to provide internet access for your computer or tablet. Check your school's policy about this before doing it and don't put your students' computers on it because then they'll have unfiltered access to the web through your hotspot. 

#5 - Check Connections and Restart It
It is amazing how many little tech problems can be solved by simply checking that cables haven't been unplugged. Similarly, restarting a computer or tablet has resolved many small tech problems over the years.