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On Failing (with technology)

I’ve been going through the dozens of “draft” posts that have never seen the light of day.  This is one of those (from November 2012), which I didn’t post because at the time I was hesitant to admit some of my tech-frustrations…

For the first few weeks of the semester I had a running joke with one of my colleagues, where I would come back from class and she would ask me what I’d broken that day.  Because, for whatever reason, nearly every digital tool that I was trying with my students ended up having a major snafu when I presented it to them in class.

There was the class wordpress blog that ended up stalling when I asked all of the students to post comments simultaneously, and the SIMILE timeline tool that broke whenever the students tried to add events that extended over a period of time, the day that I introduced Prezi that also coincided with the very hour that they rolled out an unannounced upgrade to the menu structure of the software, and numerous fails with using Blackboard tools (the wikis and discussion boards simply weren’t robust enough to be accessed by 25 users at once).  Finally, yesterday, I learned that when I asked my students to all create wikipedia accounts, we learned that they screen by IP address for new registrations and had put a 24-hour hold on any new accounts being added from our classroom.

Fortunately I’m fairly patient with technology.  Since I’m fussing with it nearly all-day long, I’ve learned that there are almost-always workarounds.  Even when they mean using pen and paper (and typewriters).

of pearls and seaweed

From the journal of Henry Thoreau:

pearls and seaweed
…Thoreau’s Journal: 06-Jul-1840

Have no mean hours, but be grateful for every hour, and accept what it brings. The reality will make any sincere record respectable. No day will have been wholly misspent, if one sincere, thoughtful page has been written.

Let the daily tide leave some deposit on these pages, as it leaves sand and shells on the shore. So much increase of terra firma. This may be a calendar of the ebbs and flows of the soul; and on these sheets as a beach, the waves may cast up pearls and seaweed.

A few weeks ago I “archived” my blog, with the intention of not writing in this space again. It seemed a wise move, a motivator for me to be writing in other places, for publication. But then I realized that I need this space, if only to clear the cobwebs from my head every once in awhile, and to record the “ebbs and flows” of my daily life.