Thursday, November 4th, 2010 | Computer Usage
The more pieces of technology you have in your classroom, the more can go wrong. You may have a computer, data projector, printer, scanner, digital camera and equipment to transform your classroom into an interactive one. Often these items have different brand names and are obtained from different suppliers – this complicates the matter when something goes wrong.
If you are not a technical expert, you may feel at a loss if your technology does not work. How do you feel when this happens to you? Stuck? Frustrated? Inclined to throw the equipment out the window?
Three simple suggestions may help you to stay sane:
When your device does not respond, do a quick check by switching off all the different components; make sure that all connections are intact and that the equipment is plugged in at the wall sockets and switched on; leave the equipment switched off for a few moments and then switch them all on again. You’ll be surprised how often this simple procedure does the trick!
If the problem persists, call an expert. Another teacher in your school – one with more experience than you – may be able solve the problem quickly. When such help is not available in your school, call for technical assistance from outside – possibly from your technology supplier. When the expert solves the problem, observe closely and try to learn as much as you can to build your own expertise. (Hint: keep a list of the suppliers of your equipment, with their telephone numbers, in your classroom. Problems can often be resolved over the phone.)
While waiting for the expert, test each piece of equipment in turn. The most likely cause of the problem is the computer or laptop. Check whether it is operating properly on its own – loading files, displaying them on the screen, and responding to mouse or keyboard prompts. If you are satisfied that the computer works, connect the other devices one by one and test the system after each connection. Through a process of elimination you may be able to pinpoint the area of your problem.
When help is not forthcoming immediately, don’t waste time – go to your Plan B … and continue teaching.
Perform a quick test of the technology you plan to use before the start of the school day – this will avoid embarrassing and time-wasting situations later.
For more technology tips for teachers click here.