Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TED Video

My brother is always on top of the newest of new of the internet since its part of his job to stay current as a graphic designer.  He often sends my mom and I anything he finds interesting about education because he knows that I'm about to be certified to teach and my mom is a secretary in an elementary school.  This morning he sent me this video that he came across.  This TED video was a lecture by Salman Khan.  Honestly I've never heard of him before, but the video definitely interested me in finding out more about him.  His ideas about education are definitely interesting and worth a listen to. Check it out TED: Salman Khan: Let's Use Video to Reinvent Education

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Hello everyone!  I hope everyone is having a great week despite this gloomy weather.  While many people have been complaining about the rain, to me it just serves as a reminder that the flowers will be in full bloom soon as will spring! (*Note: This post was written yesterday, but wasn't posted until today when it is in fact beautiful and sunny out)

For this week’s post I was experiencing some major…and I mean MAJOR writer’s block.  It has been a pretty hectic week for me and well my brain is fried between assignments, my job in retail, and searching for teaching positions online.  I really try not to do things at the last minute, especially assignments, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the fact that I can be a huge procrastinator.  While taking two online courses this semester I’ve come to the realization that procrastination and technology do not mix.  This is where my blog post title comes into play, because I have been experiencing technical difficulties with technology all day long!  Then it hit me, I’ve had many experiences with technical difficulties so instead of getting frustrated I’ve chosen to write about them and how despite these difficulties I still think that technology is a great tool both recreationally and educationally.

Example 1:  In the midst of a very hectic week this semester with both extra hours at work due to an employee quitting and a major assignment due in one of my online courses I make the decision to leave my online postings as the last item on my list to complete.  Thus I begin completing 2 postings for different classes at 8 or 9pm on the day that they are due.  Posting number one is completed, time to move on to the second.  Second post is all written up, I click said and my computer screen reads “computer unable to connect to server”.  Luckily for me I write many of my postings in Microsoft Word first because I know how easily posts can be erased by refreshing the internet and this is indeed what happens when I refresh my browser to see if that will solve my connection problem.  It continues to tell me that I cannot connect to the server.  I proceed to check every 15 minutes for the next two hours so that I can hopefully hand in my assignment on time.  No such luck, my server did not restore itself until some point between when I went to bed at 12:15am and when I wake up at 8am the next morning and my assignment is handed in late.

While I really should’ve learned from my mistake of procrastinating, I’ve done this one more time over the semester and had similar results.  While I’d like to blame my server for crashing, I know that ultimately it was my fault for waiting until the night that the assignment was due to complete it.  What it also makes me realize is that when I assign online assignments for my students that this is type of occurrence is a possibility especially if it is a homework assignment due in one evening.  What I really need to pay attention to is if this is a student’s excuse time after time.  I know that many teachers are beginning say that “my computer crashed” or “my printer broke” is becoming the new “dog ate my homework” for both Gen Yers and Gen Zers, but at the same time these are actual difficulties that students may experience.

Example 2:  I had a group assignment in my other online course and had been doing the work for it on my personal laptop.  I had been experiencing issues with my computer’s charger for a while but was trying to put off buying a new charger as much as possible.  Well right before I began working on the project the charger issue had gotten worse and a smart tech-savvy person would have started to back up all of their documents onto an external hard drive.  As luck had it not only did my charger go caput but so did my computer battery and the computer itself.  Luckily for me I was able to get the computer to turn on long enough to not only move all of my work to my external hard drive but also all of my new images and other documents that I had not recently backed up. 

The stress alone made me realize that it is so important to deal with any technical difficulties before the problems get any worse because the worse case scenario can be really bad.  Also it is important to have a back up.  Luckily for me, my boyfriend let me use his laptop to complete the rest of my project.  Even as educators it is important to have a back up incase technology breaks down or we can’t get something to work in the classroom.

Despite my experiences with technology that are truly frustrating, technology is such an important tool and it is important to not let bad experiences with it keep you from trying again.  As many of us tell our students, you can’t give up when presented with challenges, it is important to keep trying and overcome them.