When my projector failed...
In our technological world, you don't expect technology to fail, but of course it does. In fact, the most recent mishap I have encountered has been a failure of technology.
Last week, the bulb in my projector went out. Initially I wasn't too concerned because I didn't think a projector was that important to my classroom. In fact, as I've integrated more technology like Chromebooks, I began to see my projector as insignificant and now its seeking vengeance for my lack of appreciation. My experiences this week have been similar to when your power goes out or you injur your arm; you suddenly realize how much you relied on that one thing to do multiple jobs:
"Let me show you an example...oh wait..." "There's this funny video about this...but...I can't show you because I don't have a projector..." "That's awesome! Can I show the class...if I had a functioning projector..."
Throughout this week, I felt as though my hands have been tied behind my back and I worried that my students would suffer. Yet as you lose one ability you gain others to compensate. So in the week that I planned to use direct instruction to help students make connections from one Document Based Questions to another, I got to be creative and try to create engaging lessons while still giving my students the necessary information.
My World History students, for example, went to the computer lab and took notes from viewing a PearDeck presentation. Unfortunately, the app is great for CFUs but not for engaging presentations; can't do pop ups and blend pictures with information. So then we tried viewing the prezi presentation via Google Classroom. Unfortunately, the advanced learners kept working ahead and the computer lab layout is not conductive for direct instruction lecture so students kept getting off track. The most engaging lesson I had was when I went old school with me, an Expo Marker, and a whiteboard.
In US history, their higher maturity level and experience in history allowed for them to work on primary resources following short direct instruction, complete with my illustrations on my whiteboard. Students also completed a WebQuest while in the computer the lab, which we reviewed in cooperative groups.
Overall, this week has reminded me that technology is not what makes learning possible; its just another tool for teachers to utilize. What makes learning possible is the teacher and their passion, creativity, and classroom management. My fear was that students would not master the necessary information due to lack of exciting presentations with videos, pictures, and colorful images, but as I sit here and grade my students’ quizzes, I’m comforted that my majority of my students were still able to master and comprehend the new information.
Now I won’t lie and say that I no longer need my projector, but this technological failure reminded me that great teaching can still occur with or without technology.