Sometimes the internet and the device don't seem to be willing to get along. The moment of excitement, and engagement can be lost. But here is when the variety of devices becomes a good thing. Another student has a Blackberry device that finds the wifi signal, when an Android device won't, and so two students partner up and all is well.
I often feel like I am in an infomercial when I stand in front of my class. I am there to sell them on the next awesome idea that we are going to start to explore, or on their own capabilities to succeed. Once I have everyone on the edge of their seat, I bring out the new technology that will help us to reach our goal. It is the first time they have seen it, and it should be magic! But sometimes it isn't.
One day this week everything that could go wrong... did. A perfect storm of electronic mishaps, that ended with a class slipping away from the moment. Attention spans stretched to the breaking point, chairs shuffled, and the dreaded sound of off-topic giggles began. I lost the moment when the technology didn't work the way it was supposed to. The moment of engaged excitement had passed.
That is why there always has to be a backup plan, waiting in the wings, engaging, interesting and on topic. The analog savior, to our digital disaster. When the internet is not cooperating, when the Google Doc is insisting they have a log in on devices, when the QR code creator, that worked flawlessly for two years, suddenly doesn't work anymore, when the Google Maps Street View of Nunavut is unavailable without a Google account on an ipad, then it is time to power down, and switch gears.
I constantly try to let my students know that failure leads to success, and that we can't be afraid to fail, whether we are conducting a science experiment, or working on a math problem. I have to remember that the rule counts for me too. Letting them see that I fail too wasn't easy, but role modelling patience, and perseverance as we went through the process of problem solving was a good experience.
Today the same lesson worked, the glitches were fixed, and groups were working successfully. We learned that things can be difficult, but every problem can be solved if we are willing to keep trying, and work through the problems. I guess in the end, we learned more than I thought this week.