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Exhibit 1

We’re in the middle of Catholic Education Week. CM, Religious Education teacher, has booked the LRC for work on the Nicene Creed. Our plan is to create Wordles: pupils will highlight the phrases they identify with and have fun playing with the visuals (which also gets them to read and reflect on the words  :-))

creedI’ve already linked the relevant version of the Creed to the school website, and when the class fall through the doors the Smartboard is fired up and ready for me to demonstrate what they’re to do.

Aye, right.

Problem 1:  Wordle isn’t working 😦

It looks like Java isn’t up to date on the PC. Our network is supposed to keep everything up to date automatically, but of course, that process doesn’t always work, and Java is a common victim.

Never mind. Let’s get you guys online and I’ll then I’ll explain.

Problem 2: Wordle still isn’t working

Oh good grief! You’d think that since all of the computers are the same that they would share the same problems. I do appreciate this is a naive assessment, but it’s soooo frustrating when a programme will run on only some of the identical computers in a network. Oh well, we have enough to be getting on with. I go off to contact the technician and the pupils get to work.

Problem 3: the mysterious case of the vanishing PDF!

Software refusing to work is an annoying but foreseeable problem, and I’m berating myself for assuming that everything would be ok and not checking, but now we have a situation where software has completely vanished.

What’s happened to Acrobat?

The plan was to save each Wordle as a PDF so I could add them to the website later on. We could have printed them but my elderly printer tends to panic when lots of people are suggesting that it could maybe, perhaps, print something for them. But only one of the computers is giving us the option to print to PDF. Image Writer’s there, but for some reason it’s turning everything into black and white.

We get the class to use Cooltext instead.

They’ve been saving their work as they go and now they have to drag it into the dropbox. Guess what?

Problem 4:  the dropbox isn’t working

Or rather, the dropbox isn’t allowing pupils to drop anything into it. It is allowing them to open it. Not good.

I’m relieved to get to the end of the period without any more mishaps, and am looking forward to a straightforward hour of JFK research.

Exhibit 2

One of the resources we use for the JFK research is a documentary. It’s an excellent piece of storytelling, brilliant at presenting and analysing the evidence and covering a huge range of information and ideas. It also makes a nice change from constant websites (finding information on Kennedy at this level is hard to find).

It’s also on a video tape.

Problem 5: the video’s dead 😦

This is the loss of an invaluable, irreplaceable resource. It was fine just a couple of days ago and now it’s all gone fuzzy 😥  However, our wonderful ICT technician suggests that maybe it’s my ancient player that’s defunct, not the tape. Hooray! (I think).

Verdict

When you get days like this, you sometimes wonder why you use the technology at all, for about a microsecond. Problem solving is a huge part of this job, from collaborating with the teachers on the lesson plans and identifying suitable resources, to working things through when they go wrong and knowing when to call in the cavalry. Not many lessons like these two (thankfully) but quickly coming up with alternatives is all part of the job.

Not swearing in front of the kids when all hell breaks loose requires advanced level ninja training 🙂

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