Things can go wrong. I am sure you have probably attended a conference where the technology has “failed” for the presenter. The thing is these things happen, sometimes the technology fails and stuff that is planned either can’t happen or needs to be postponed. These technical hitches or failures can also happen in the classroom.
The sad thing is I know for practitioners this is the reason why they won’t engage with using learning technologies or see the potential problems as a good reason for not using them.
Of course it is important that learning technologies that are in classrooms are reliable and work when needed. However as with everything sometimes things do go wrong and stuff doesn’t work.
However this is not a justification for not using learning technologies.
Traditional teaching and learning technologies fail too. Got chalk, but can’t find a board rubber perhaps? Got a traditional whiteboard and someone has used a permanent marker on it? The photocopier is jammed or run out of paper? No more ink for the bander machine? For those of us of a certain age will remember these technical hitches happening on a regular basis in our institutions.
Many of us will also have experienced the pain of double-booking. You go to your classroom or lecture theatre, only to find that someone else is already in there.
Similarly in 2009 we had the worst snow for twenty years and less than a year later we had the worst snow for forty years.
What happened institutions were “forced” to close. You could say that the transport infrastructure and the physical buildings had “failed” and didn’t work.
The question is what did we do when traditional stuff didn’t work? What we did, as teaching professionals, was use our experience and skills to re-jig what we had planned, we may have even rescheduled. Instead of using the blackboard, we would have used paper. With a marked whiteboard, we may have changed rooms. When rooms are double booked we move rooms. With snow, we catch up later.
Rarely would people say, that’s it, as the college was closed, I am never going to use a classroom again as it’s unreliable. Just because the whiteboard wasn’t available to the permanent marker, I can’t see teachers or lecturers deciding that in future it wouldn’t worth the risk in using it, just in case it happens again.
There is something about confidence in using technologies (old or new) and it is also the confidence in knowing what to do when things don’t go as planned. The thing is, million to one chances happen nine times out of ten. As a result we change our plans, work around the problems, but we shouldn’t just stop using a technology because it didn’t work once!