Using technology for teaching and learning in general is great fun! I love experimenting and getting out of my comfort zone to make lessons more engaging en memorable, thus making the teaching more effective. However, sometimes I run into difficulties and the simple things I want, simply do not work! Well, perhaps they are not always simple things.
In education there is never a dull moment and the same can be said of technology and teaching. Even though magic is lurking around the corner when you step out of your comfort zone, in the past week I actually ran into various stressful situations regarding technology.
For instance, I discovered that the new slim case computers behind our smart boards no longer have a DVD/CD-drive! I discovered this just before starting to teach the first session of a course… not nice! Apparently ‘someone’ has decided we no longer use materials on disks (visual reminder on the right), but I still have some interesting programmes and videoclips that are only available this way. Together with the ICT department I will have to work something out, as not all video material and certainly not programmes that come with books are available online.
Another example of a tech challenge… Together with TELL Tutor A I am currently preparing a workshop for other teachers about how to make reading more engaging by adding interactive elements. The workshop is less than a month away and during our last work session we discovered that the programme we planned to use is not as intuitive as we remembered / expected! For us to prepare a demonstration and an example before the workshop is still doable, but to have newbies to the programme create something useful in less than 45 minutes is impossible! The good news is that our visit to iXperium yesterday gave a new idea for another programme to use… just when I thought the workshop would turn into a Bridget Jones disaster. All we need now is some more time to get it all prepared before the deadline, which is great for our professional development anyway.
Currently I am also switching from Smart Notebook software to other platforms and tools to make my lecture presentations, since I was informed that Notebook may no longer be supported or available in the near future. I have invested heavily in these presentations and am investing in them again, as simply converting them to Power Point does not include all animations and functionalities that make Notebook such an appealing programme to use. To end on a positive note though, the good thing is that TELL Tutor A and I had already decided to explore presentation and classroom tools more in the context of this course, so today I prepared tomorrow’s lesson in Prowise. In the weeks to come my colleague and I will teach every lesson using a different platform so you can also see what smartboard-independent software there is and what the advantages and disadvantages of these tools are. I hope you enjoy this exploration as much as we will! Let us know what you think!