It happened this Monday. Due to testing we were set to use our new netbooks and wireless had been working fine all day. Then, without warning, minutes before I was to teach group of sixth graders the wireless cut out. We tried restarting the router but to no avail, and my impatient little cherubs were not happy about it and had absolutely no patience for me. “What do you mean it doesn’t work”? I could almost hear them say. “Starbucks never has this problem!” I thought I heard them whisper. Then again, in my hurried state, I don’t know what I heard; only an unhappy rabble of children who wanted their internet now.
I wanted to tell them that in my day we had nothing better than flimsy little floppy disks and if you so much as looked at them the wrong way you lost all your data and we JUST LIVED WITH IT. The internet was on ONE computer that shared a phone line with the office and went out every time someone picked up the phone and we LOVED IT.
What have I learned from this outage? From running between two different rooms to get something done only to have it all blow up in my face and being accosted by angry students who blame me for it all? Being a reflective type, I have considered the following:
1. I need to remind students that this whole internet thing, and in fact computers and technology in general will fail and what matters is that you handle it with grace. Something I have not fully mastered myself. It’s like I tell the kids: “If you get your leg caught in a bear trap, at least you’ll make a great pirate for Halloween”
2. I need to plan for the worst when it comes to these things. Teaching technology means that a power outage, a blip in our network, or any other number of little disasters could turn my lessons upside down. I need to be prepared for the worst. Activities that while technology related could be adapted to work without internet, like going on nature walks with the digital cameras, or collecting data that could be used in a future spreadsheet.
Oh, internet readers! Is there something that you do when everything that can go wrong does? Is there any advice you could give this poor soul that like his students just expected everything to work?