Well, on one of my first lessons on prac, where I had planned a lovely lesson utilising ICTs via the interactive whiteboard (IWB), all hell broke loose. Several kids were mucking around and not settling, while one student was having a full-blown meltdown; my mentor was away sick and the relief teacher was doing his best to keep the class in order; and the other teacher and teacher aides had their hands full as normal. This is a special needs class of about a dozen students, mixed ages, abilities and needs – a very busy & demanding class.
I had planned to follow my mentor’s usual warm-up activity of a slideshow quiz, nice & big & visual, to occupy the class while guiding them through revision questions. This was going to be followed with an online interactive activity (perfect for the IWB) and maybe even a Youtube video later which suited the lesson content perfectly, all interspersed with other great hands-on, minds-on activities (yeah, I wish).
And so of course, you guessed it, I couldn’t get the IWB to work. It wasn’t even responding to the laptop, which sat on a dock, which was plugged into the IWB. I had been shown by my mentor how to bring up the options to link it to the IWB, which icon to click, etc – except the darn icon wasn’t even there! It was as if the IWB had ceased to exist. Another teacher, several of the aides, and I were all trying to work it out, whilst simultaneously juggling an increasingly restless class who just needed to get down to work.
We looked at everything, and nothing seemed to be amiss; we did however saw an extra cord that I was assured was for something else, and anyway, she had been using the dock all morning so it should be fine. But that’s the last time I take someone else’s word, even if they have been there longer than me.
It turned out the dock had been unplugged accidentally by the cleaner, and so the dock was flat. The other teacher (who had assured me it should all work) had used the dock all morning on battery unknowingly, so by the time I got to use it, it was totally flat. Of course, we didn’t work it all out until the class was over, in the meantime I had reverted to good old manual teaching and hands-on activities – with many thanks to the relief teacher, who is very old-school, and great at thinking on his feet.
So to sum it all up, the lesson I learned is before you do anything else, make sure the darn ICT that you are using is TURNED ON FIRST!!
(Photo: man working at computer desk, by PublicDomainPictures, obtained under CC0 Public Domain, https://pixabay.com/en/man-computer-working-technology-314424/)