Problem solving Technology for K-12 schools

By. Teresa Marchant

This past week we had a horrible snowstorm. Not unusual for February, but the snow coupled with rain and sub zero temperatures caused havoc the following day for internet and cell phone providers. Thinking nothing of it, I bundled up and headed off to work. I was greeted by an intercom announcement stating the internet was down and concluded with “have a nice day!”

Situation 1- Weather Related Issues

Wait! No internet? This was a crippling situation for our teachers and parents. All of the online lessons and resources teachers typically used were inaccessible. Our phone lines are also internet based so that meant only calls within the walls of the school could be made. My solution- I quickly grabbed paper and a pencil, I was going old school and I was up for the challenge. Thankfully a few hours later we were all up and running.

Situation 2- Stress Related Issues

My principal walked in and was there for my random observation! Without warning my technology “knew” and stopped working. I had everything working perfectly before the Technology Gremlins snuck in and foiled my plan. My solution-I talked calmly to my students as the projector finally warmed up and decided to work.

Both of these types of situations called for improvisations. There are creative ideas and tips to keep your cool when instructing or using technology as part of your everyday lessons.

Your number one rule should always be… check your connections! I’ve lost count of how many times this has saved me. This is the first thing our IT department will ask because it usually fixes the problem.

Secondly, act cool.

Talk to others and consider joining this group. You can learn from other expert teachers and how they handle similar situations. Having open discussions in your classroom can create a growth mindset for you and your students. This also teaches empathy and problem solving skills.

Lastly, use your backup plan.

Having a plan “B” up your sleeve or an emergency folder can help in these stressful situations. These plans should be easy to use and shouldn’t require any additional assistance. By downloading lessons for easy access later was my saving grace in the first situation. My online game had an “offline” option so I could still teach with the same resources.

Despite being prepared, there will always be unexpected technology issues. Whatever situation you run into I hope you “have a nice day”!