A quick reflection of my IT woes and lessons this year
This year we were lucky to get two laptop carts. In previous years we had two or three desktop computers in the classroom and then the team decided to take out some of the computers from the classroom and create a ‘minilab’ in our hallway. That worked to some extent, but when you wanted to do a whole-class assignment that meant booking the minilab for two separate sessions. This also meant you had to have a plan for the other half of the kids that didn’t fit in the lab.
In come the laptop carts this year. This was exciting news. I have always wanted to have enough laptops to carry out a whole-class IT lesson. Now, we have enough for a class to conduct a 1:1 IT lesson. This sounds great on the surface, but the reality can be far from great.
Initially the laptops didn’t look the same, meaning the dock (think Mac OS X) didn’t look the same from laptop to laptop. Not a major problem in itself, but we are talking about an early elementary classroom that will be using these so uniformity is a necessary. After that problem was solved other, network, problems surfaced. Most of these can be dealt with on the spot with one or two machines, but multiply that issue times twenty and it’s not feasible to solve all the problems in the course of a single lesson. Eventually, things have gotten better, much better, but issues still slow down the intended lesson.
Plan for the unplanned
The lesson here…always have a back-up plan. As a self-professed lover of all things technical I have learned all too well that no matter how well you prepare, something will go wrong. Whether you are giving a presentation to a group of parents, staff members or students, always be prepared for your plan to go flat on its face.
Some tips I’ve learned the hard way just this year:
- Have hard copies prepared to pass out
- Have a back-up laptop ready to go
- Don’t rely on the network
- Keep a copy of your data stored locally, because the network WILL fail when you need it most
A few issues here and there won’t stop the saturation of IT in the classroom. Even with a few hiccups I wouldn’t trade our laptop cart for anything we had even one year ago. Give me the laptops, problems and all, and I will just plan of the unplanned.