Today I worked on a project with the staff at one of our elementary schools. I won’t say which one, but they’ll know who they are. I’d been working with one of the teachers to put together a kick-off for their schoolwide fundraiser for the year. We were prepared. We’d put together our resources. We’d tested the technology. We were good to go. Or so we thought. At 2:30 this afternoon…the afternoon before a four-day weekend, no less…about 20 or so dedicated folks showed up at the appointed time to play their part in this little production. And then the technical glitches began. The teacher I’d been working with was starting to panic. I was too, but I was trying not to show it. Everyone was very patient and helpful, but I really didn’t want to keep them all waiting while I tried to figure this out. So, we tried something a little different. It wasn’t quite what they’d planned and will definitely change the final outcome of the project, but it worked.
What did I learn today? I learned that this staff is amazingly patient and adaptable! But I also learned that when technology glitches occur, whether they are the fault of the technology or the user (in this case, I think it might have been a little of both and I take all the responsibility for that), there’s always another option. Your lesson or project might not turn out the way you had originally planned, but you can almost always still meet your instructional objectives. In this case, we switched from video to still photos. But the end result will still teach the kids what the fundraiser is all about and will be entertaining as well. Sometimes I think we’re so tied to our idea of what the final product should look like that we fail to accept anything else. If that had been the case today, this staff would have nothing to show for all their planning. Instead, they took the bumps in stride and we found a way around the issues. That’s how we need to address technology in our classrooms. So often we hear “technology is great…when it works.” I know as well as you do the frustration of standing in front of a classroom full of students and having something go wrong. When I’m planning a lesson or project I always try to have a “Plan B” in mind. But sometimes you just have to go with the flow. I am grateful for the cooperation of that wonderful staff today. I can’t wait to see their final project. It’s going to be great!