Problem: You’ve spent a week putting together this great interactive lesson that leverages all of your tech toys and fully exercises your school’s bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy. You really plan on bringing polynomials (or verbs, the periodic table, the Norman Conquest, etc.) to life. But, it appears that the Wi-Fi connection is out. Or your SMART board has burned out. Or Johnny downloaded malware, and now, everyone on the network has it. You’re dead in the water.
Solution: We’ve become increasingly reliant on our technology. To the credit of our tech staffs and specialists, it works a high percentage of the time. But, when it doesn’t, it always seems to be during your most tech-heavy lesson. How do we get through days like these?
1. Keep your own stash of supplies
Projector bulbs, batteries, and the like always go out when you least expect them to. Rather than rely on the supply closet, take some of your budget at the beginning of the year, and buy your own stash of tech supplies. Not only can you stay in the classroom, but you don’t run the risk of your colleagues taking all of the supplies and not telling anyone.
2. Have students help troubleshoot
Even if you’re a former NASA scientist, today’s students probably know more than you do about current classroom technology. Have them work together as a group to diagnose the problem. It promotes teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills—all of which are very important for the next-generation standards.
3. Always have a cache of printouts from your favorite online sources
When I was in the classroom, I relied a lot on a particular poetry website for my unit on verse. It was great if I could project it, but occasionally, I couldn’t. Good thing I had printed versions of the poems that had traveled with me for years. If you find yourselves using a particular website a lot, and it’s fairly static, print out selections of things you might use.
4. Always a cache have of non-tech lessons
It’s great to be able to turn to some tried-and-true lessons that can bail you out of any crisis. Consider some close reading lessons using handouts to distribute or worksheets.
5. Find a review game you like
Even if the lights go out, you can still review information that you’ve gone over in previous lessons. Find a game that organizes that information and gets students engaged with the material. They’ll forget that the room is dark.