AAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!! How did we ever teach without the Internet?!?!
Thank you for allowing me to get that out of my system. To clarify, our city has been experiencing a crisis of epic proportions (ok, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration… but not much) in that our local cable and Internet provider (who shall remain nameless, but feel free to look them up) is in the midst of some kind of major issue that is causing people to try to remember what it was like to live in the days before we had instant access to information as quickly as we could think of it.
This is definitely not the ideal day for THE INTERNET to be down, as I have posted myself at a local elementary school to provide some “Geek on Demand” training. I plotted out a series of emails that would be scheduled to send (thanks to Active Inbox) every 45 minutes, with enticing little tips and tricks that would draw my victims, er, “customers” down to the closet/office for some one-on-one tech time. It was working beautifully until the crisis occurred. Now, here I sit, hidden away in a little hallway closet, Mimio Votes, iPad, computer, and cookies at the ready, and no Internet. What to do?!
Seriously, are you old enough to remember teaching before the Internet? It wasn’t that long ago. It makes me think about how technology has changed the landscape of what we do and how we do it. Are we honestly so reliant on technology that we just shut down when such a crisis occurs? Or are we perseverant problem solvers who have the skills to just figure out another way? I’m banking on the latter.
As I take a break and wander the halls of this building, I see and hear teaching still happening. [How is this POSSIBLE?! Don’t they know I’m suffering in here with no way to communicate with the world?!] A first grade teacher is modelling fluency, expression, and how to define vocabulary in context through a read aloud. A second grade teacher is using a dice game to reinforce basic multiplication facts. A third grade teacher is working with differentiated groups on reading skills. A fourth grade teacher is using his interactive projector to record a number talk. A fifth grade teacher is using iPads to model the construction of robots. A sixth grade teacher is using her document camera to display a formative assessment on scientific notation. And NONE of this is falling apart because the Internet is down.
Meanwhile, here I sit, in my little temporary cloffice writing a blog post… with no Internet. How is this POSSIBLE?!?! Again, Internet schminternet. It’s like somehow “they” knew that this might happen, and companies like Google allowed for offline access so we could still be productive. In scenarios like this, where teachers are trying to accomplish something, we find ways to make it happen. These are the skills of problem solving and creativity that we want our kids to have in this crazy, connected world of the 21st century; if “opportunities” like a school-day Internet crash never came up, how would we ever teach our students that they actually need these skills? Score one for the [lack of] Internet!
So what if the power was out, too? How would those intermediate teachers ever cope?! My guess is that they just would. They are resilient. They are persistent. They are creative. And they realize that technology is just a tool. What comes first is the kids. The kids will eat up whatever learning kibbles we provide - the tastier the better of course, but when it comes down to it, even dry toast serves its purpose. As I mentioned in a previous post, the lesson is the focus, and the technology is the sprinkles (Captain Crunch?) on top.
Internet or no Internet - electricity or no electricity - it’s the persistent, creative, and problem-solvey teachers who just push ahead do it anyway, and they do it very well!