This month’s topic was to write about a typical day in my classroom so, here is my tale.
I get to my classroom about 7am. One student is already there. She gets dropped off at 6:45 because of her parent’s work schedule. School doesn’t start until 7:45. After opening up my room I go to the Media Center to get the Mobile Computer lab. It is 2 carts of 15 Netbook style mini laptops. My early student helps me move them from the media center to my classroom. Each cart drives like an overloaded 3 wheeled grocery cart.
Once I get the carts to my room I am met by 3 other early students. They are all teachers’ kids and like to come help me prepare for the day. At this point I start the process of plugging in all of the cords, routers, printers and accessories that are needed for the computers to work in my classroom. Needless to say, I can not wear a skirt on these mornings due to the acrobatics I must perform to get hooked-up. I then check that everything is getting power. At that point the bell rings for students.
As class begins, I take roll and say the pledge of Allegiance. Each student then gets a laptop. There are 25 students in first period. We are writing research about a self-selected poet using the internet to conduct the research and a number of books that I have provided.
Then Hell breaks loose!
Five computers do not recognize that it has Word installed. Three continually reboot themselves. Four cannot access the internet wireless wifi unless the student literally sits by the router (and not at their desks). The printer start spitting out print jobs from who-knows-when and runs out of paper. Two computers refuse to do anything at all. Two students have had their files wiped off the face of the digital earth. A few students have flashdrive issues. Some students have been working at home on Word 07 and the school has Word 03. At this point I do a mini lesson on how to turn off OVR and how to save as .rtf. By this point the period is over.
Repeat the above paragraph for periods 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.
My day was over and all I got done was put out technology fires. Not literally, but figuratively. I am hired to teach 7th and 8th grade language arts and I spent the day teaching how to cope with technology stress.
Some may ask, “Where is your tech department?” Currently we have one guy who covers the district K-12. By the time I put in a work order for every problem, the day is over and he might be able to get to it next week.
So here is the main point of this ramble. I consider myself tech saavy. I love my iPad and will be touring next year presenting PD regarding apps. I enjoy using computers( I am duel screening right now as I write this) but I am frustrated with using poorly maintained and poorly functioning, out-of-date equipment. But what about other teachers? Teachers who are less computer friendly and simply throw their hands in the air and murmur, “I give up.”
How do plans to use technology and the reality of using technology become the same thing?