Sunday, August 7, 2011

Week 6: Frustration and Happenstance

For weeks, I have been struggling to gain control over the vast amounts of technology that have been thrown at us. But you know what? There is one thing I cannot control; and one thing that deserves mentioning as we try to make our classrooms completely digitized (oh yes they are!):

Sometimes the stuff just doesn’t work right.

When you are posting a link to someone else’s web page, there is always a possibility that when the person you gave the link to goes there, the page won’t be there anymore. So one must be careful about handing out links. Some web pages will never go away (Library of Congress, for example), but even those pages may change. Some web sites have auto-redirects, some do not.

Or, there is a possibility that entire web sites can disappear. This is especially true of .com sites that are privately owned and come and go quickly. Either way, one has to remember that technology is not perfect. When you rely on it the most, it may fail you.

The same can be said for software programs. Just this past week I was given an assignment that called for me to edit a .rtf file and return it to my editing peer so they could read my comments about their WebQuest. Possibly because I do not have MS Word on my computer, I could not get the file to format correctly. I would fill it out and everything would appear to be in place, but when I saved it and emailed it the person could not open it or if she did it was missing all of my added information. I tried doing it again…then I tried just highlighting my scores and adding notes at the end. It still didn’t work. The last column was missing. I ended up sending her an email with my comments in the text body. Email: There’s a technology that for the most part can be depended on.

Technology is very cool. I personally love working with it. But the more one relies on technology to deliver the needed content, the more control one gives over to pure chance. And it will fail, now and then. It’s cool to use technology to show me how technology works. But sometimes by doing so you’re also showing me how it doesn’t work. Maybe that was the plan all along.

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