The issues I have been having with the collaborative Wiki have me thinking about how useful technology is so long as it works. Not to say the Wiki doesn’t work, but it has been seriously impeding my flow due to freezes, restarts, and refusal to do what I need it to do. Technology is our best friend when it runs smoothly but what happens when it breaks down?
This is a question that I am really concerned about. With our kids growing up in a vastly technical world we are, as a result, growing to be more tech dependent. To paraphrase our Empowering Learners book, our students are exposed to technology that provides constant access to information through computers and mobile devices and they expect to be able to retrieve that information instantly (Empowering Learners, pg. 11). What happens when our classrooms become so dependent on this technology to produce information or perform necessary tasks and suddenly it is no longer available? I don’t mean a cataclysmic breakdown but simply a server breakdown. Or perhaps and computer malfunction. Or even simply an exceedingly slow website.
I remember the day I was giving a final research paper report for my first Master’s degree. I had present my mentor teacher, my school supervisor, and the head of my Master’s program who was filling in as a secondary mentor since I was a non-traditional graduate student. I was already nerve-wracked and trying so hard not to screw up when suddenly the server at my school shut down and I could no longer access the presentation. I panicked for about two or three minutes until everything came back up and I was able to continue. They all were very understanding about it, by the way but what if that had been a crux for an extremely important lesson in front of 30 students? What if it hadn’t lasted only a few moments? What would I have done?
I guess I could just laugh a little and say “well, in keeping with standard 3.2.1 – demonstrate leadership and confidence by presenting ideas to others in both informal and formal situations – I will just have to roll with it and hope the kids don’t go nuts!”. That may be my best chance of surviving a technology breakdown.
But it is still incredibly frustrating. 😛