Teague's Tech Treks - 10 Rep Learning

Learning Technology & Tech Observations by Dr. Helen Teague


On the Occasion of Outages: LEAP!

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. Alvin Toffler

Glitches Happen
Bugs Happen
Outages Happen
Chocolate Happens
Jeans Shrink

…but I digress

Yesterday’s Edublog outage was

Yesterday’s Edublog outage was:

  • a.) unpredictable
  • b.) challenging
  • c.) another reason to not use technology
  • d.) what outage?

I know that it is frustrating for us to have an outage.  I conducted a staff development training and while all eyes peered at me, I knew this was a “teachable moment.” In honor of the approaching LEAP Day, I offered the “Leap over Outage Obstacles” acrostic.

L: Look

E: Evaluate

A: Apply alternates

P: Plan a Plan “B”

First, I warned the teachers that a problem might occur and that I had already completed a “Me & Thee” check, which is OOPS code for seeing if the problem was with “Me” or “Thee” (in this case the Edublogs server)  I made sure cookies were enabled, cleared my temp internet cache, refreshed, refreshed, refreshed x20, and tried a different browser.

This became the “L” in our LEAP acrostic:

L: Look at all web pages and web tools before sharing. Since websites can go bad faster than granny’s egg salad, this is absolutely essential.

I was grateful to have taught in the age before Web 2.0, during the days I refer to as “Chalk 1.0.” The essence of authentic instruction is, after all, matching instructional strategies to the learning scenario.  We discussed how an outage might affect the teachers’ classrooms, brainstormed work-arounds, and reiterated the need for “Plan B”.

These actions became our “E” “A” and “P” in LEAP:

E: Evaluate other non-web options. These may include application software use, accessing websites in offline form, lesson strategies from the Chalk 1.0 days, text-based research, text-based instructional aids, cooperative grouping, use of graphic organizers, and storyboaring. Brainstorming can always be accomplished in a rudimentary fashion using post-it-notes, scribing, or recording using a tape recorder. The point is: don’t toss the idea just because of the outage.

A: Apply alternate sites and tools to achieve your learning goal. Since the blog “Comments” feature was disabled, we discussed and brainstormed using another electronic tool, the chat feature on http://www.eboard.com/. This is by no means the only option, so insert your own favorite alternatives.

Consider mirroring any essential documents, quotes, information, research, etc…on alternate sites. Here is a slideshow on sunsets that I have loaded on my tumblr blog,  http://teague.tumblr.com/ as well as web-resident on slide.com, http://oopstechtricks.slide.com/. Wait! Before cacophony erupts, please note that I am not saying mirror everything, just what is absolutely essential for your lesson success. Sometimes no web mirroring is required, but know alternates, just in case.

P: Plan a Plan “B” and implement as needed. Here is a sample Plan B in handout form


In general, we went way off our agenda but in a meaningful way. Evaluations were good, especially the “Usefulness” component.

I know it is frustrating for us to have an outage, but it can be a learning opportunity as well. When I go outside, try to start the car, and find a dead battery or flat tire..I don’t swear off autos, (although I may swear!)  I call for the AAA, tow truck, and/or take the bus!  Returning to Toffler’s quote, perhaps the best use of technology is in relearning how to survive and thrive on the occasion of outages and glitches.

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