Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Technology Frustrations

It's been over a month now since I wrote my last blog post. It was never my intention to go so long between posts. There really is a lot I want to share.  I've been struggling with something which has made it difficult for me to write a positive post.

Since joining Twitter in July (yes, a line I seem to use over and over again because its impact has been that huge on me and my teaching and learning) I have jumped in with both feet to utilize technology with my class to the best of my ability.  I've created, for the first time, a class blog which includes a direct link to  individual student blogs; I've utilized our school's laptops and extra computer lab time; I've integrated our school interactive smart board; I've signed out our district ipods and ipads; and I've helped those at my school to utilize technology too.  I'm proud of all those things.

My school district is really keen on getting us technology savvy to help better meet the needs of our students.  I love that about my district.  I have been attending a technology dinner series entitled Engaging the Digital Learner Series listening to some amazing speakers.  I've put my school on the list to get wireless technology sooner rather than later.  I work in a forward thinking district and I'm really happy about that.

My biggest source of frustration is the technology that is available to me in my classroom.  I've adopted four iBooks.  The iBooks were saved from a trip to computer heaven and are long past their due date, so I don't complain about them at all.  We can use them for very basic things but not much else.  I don't expect them to perform consistently because they are so old (notice I wrote iBook, not MacBook).  I also have an eMac which is a bit better than the laptops, and an iMac G5.  The iMac is the best computer in my room.  I've managed to wiggle a lot of computers into my classroom which is a good thing. I've also been able to get the school's one portable smart board to be stored in my classroom for this first term.  It comes with a brand new MacBook laptop and its own projection device. I thought I was really l lucky to have this interactive white board in my room.  So why am I so frustrated?

My computers are constantly crashing.  When I open up our class website on the iMac G5 more times than not it crashes and quits Safari.  It's a hit or miss if I can open it up any other computers in the classroom.  My students are keen to blog during their writing time but by the time we get a page up and running way too much time has passed because they are so slow! My school board also has control of what goes on our computers.  When we received new PC computers in our lab they installed an old version of Microsoft Word so any document created in a newer version of Word won't open at school.  I am constantly being told that my software is out of date and any upgrading has to come from the district.

And the interactive white board.  The board itself has been awesome but the laptop that accompanies it has been nothing but trouble.  While it is brand new, it freezes all the time.  It's been re-imaged and while things improved for a while it is still totally unreliable.  I've planned so many lessons utilizing it to have to scrap them because my technology has failed me.  I now get excited when the lessons on the interactive white board actually work because it is such a rare occurrence.  

The school laptops have also been a source of trouble.  On some of them there are some strange restrictions that won't allow my students to log into their personal blogs.  Sometimes they pick up the wireless network available for me, and other times they don't.  This is so frustrating.

I don't want to complain any more because I know that I have it better than most in my school, and most in my district.  My school is not yet a needy school because we have a full 30 computer PC lab, and 30 laptops available to us. However when you look at our technology, and how out dated it is becoming, I can't see how we'll ever be in the 21st century.  What we could use, and what we can actually afford are way too far apart.

So I will continue to do what I can with what I have but a big part of me will continue to dream about the day when the technology works as it should.  My question to you is how do you deal with your technology frustrations?


  1. sounds horrendous. Keep your spiritis up and do th ebest u can with what you've got. What about making community links with a local big business to see if they want to sponsor your class bog by buying your class a couple of decent laptops? You could advertise them on the blog??

  2. While I have my moments of frustration I am still getting a lot more done with my class now, than I have in the past. I am thankful for that. I am also pretty determined to succeed even with what I have. As for big business advertising on my class blog in exchange for better equipment I am NOT interested in that at all. I'll happily take donations, but certainly not with strings attached.