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[Teacher Tips] 5 Ways to Keep Learning When Technology Fails

[Teacher Tips] 5 Ways to Keep Learning When Technology Fails

Picture this: You’ve spent months crafting the perfect tech-heavy lesson for your students. You’ve scoured the Web for videos, interactive activities, and the perfect online resources. On the day of your lesson debut, your Wi-Fi connection is out, the power goes out in your classroom, a student has laptop problems, or the video you found for the lesson has been removed. Now what?

As you become more reliant on technology in the classroom and its benefits, there will always be minor and infrequent last-minute issues that can derail a lesson. While you may have a dedicated team of tech specialists and staff, it’s important to arm yourself with strategies and knowledge to help troubleshoot these inevitable issues. Here are five simple ways you can be prepared to curb any technology mishap in your classroom.

1. Keep a backup stash of your own supplies

Rather than wait for the technology staff to bring you the necessary supplies, use a fraction of your budget or (respectfully) raid the supply closet at the beginning of the year to stock up on supplies you often replace, such as batteries and lightbulbs. Having some of these supplies already stashed in your classroom can help to prevent a large delay in class time. Be sure to also familiarize yourself with how to do simple replacements of batteries or bulbs in class lights and projectors to further save time.

2. Ask your students for help

Whether you like to admit it (or not), your students are most likely more tech-savvy than you are. Select a few students to help troubleshoot the technology issue that you’re having, and have the students work together to diagnose the problem. It always helps to have an extra set of eyes on a technology issue, and your students may be able to suggest ways to fix the issue or ways to prevent it in the future. Teamwork, problem-solving, and communication in the classroom promote a win for all!

3. Create a stash of printouts to refer to

If you find yourself referring to specific sites or resources online, print a copy of lesson resources or materials to keep on hand. Having a copy to refer to can be a lifesaver if your projector goes out, you lose your Internet connection, or the site goes down. A quick visit to the copy room ahead of time to make classroom copies to hand out can be a quick way to salvage lost class time, or you can read aloud your copy to the class and engage students in discussion to keep the learning moving along.

4. Develop a backup of non-tech lessons

Create a few tried-and-true backup lessons to refer to in the event that your computer crashes or technology fails. While these lessons may not always be 100% relevant to what you had planned, they allow you to keep your students learning, even if it’s reviewing old material or providing a sneak peek of new a concept. Not only are these lessons great for days where technology isn’t functioning properly, they can be also used as an on-the-fly lesson plan for when you need an emergency substitute teacher!

5. Engage your students with a review game

Use the disconnection from technology to get your students up and moving around by getting them to play a review game. This can easily be done with almost no advanced prep work, and it’s always a great way to engage your students. Try one of these ideas from Teach 4 the Heart to get your mind thinking about how you can review with your students. Games that get your students out of their chairs don’t have to waste any learning time!

Looking for more tips, tricks, and ideas to implement in your classroom? Check out these seven classroom hacks straight from teachers!