Showing posts with label troubleshooting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label troubleshooting. Show all posts

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. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

What To Do When a Website Doesn't Work the Way You Expect It To

On a fairly regular basis I receive emails from readers who are experiencing frustration with a site, app, or add-on not working for them the way it worked for me in one of my demonstration videos.  I try to answer all of those emails, but I don't always get to them as quickly as I would like (despite appearances, this blog is a one man show). If you find yourself frustrated with a site, app, or add-on not working as you expected, here are some things that I suggest trying or checking.

1. Are you using a modern browser? In a lot instances of a site not working properly in a school, the cause can be traced to using an outdated version of a web browser. If you're using an older version of a browser not only will some sites not work correctly, you are also opening yourself up to more potential security threats. Find out which browser and version you're using by visiting

2. Is it a Google Docs/ Sheets/ Forms/ Slides Add-on? If so, check with your G Suite administrator to make sure that you have permission to install Add-ons. On a related note, not all G Suite domains will get the latest features at the same time. I tend to write about new features as soon as they are announced, but for some domains the latest features won't appear until weeks later.

3. Do you have cookies enabled? Many websites require cookies in order to offer you the best possible experience. Explania and Common Craft offer good explanations of how cookies work.

4. Do you have a pop-up blocker turned on? It is not uncommon for a website to use a pop-up window for account log-ins. If the pop-up is blocked, you won't be able to log-in.

5. Are you using the site on a tablet/ iPad/ Chromebook? While it would be great if every site was optimized for tablets, that is not the case.

6. Have you checked your spam folder? If you sent a help request to the site developers/ app developers, they may have replied and had their messages flagged by your spam filter. I've experienced this more than once when using a school district email address.

7. In the words of The IT Crowd, "have you tried turning it off and on again?" - Seriously, this often solves many problems. And while you're restarting your computer, run those updates you've been ignoring since January :)

Disclosure: For years I have had an in-kind business relationship with Common Craft.