Friday, November 13, 2009

Computer Problems

I have been having computer problems all morning. At first, the web browser I usually use wouldn't run. So I restarted the program, then restarted the computer. No luck. I did this several times. Nothing.

Now, I know it's an old computer, but it worked fine yesterday. So I finally uninstalled the web browser, downloaded it again, and reinstalled it. I had to use a different web browser to do this; one that I don't like nearly as well as the one I reinstalled.

Well, it must be Friday the 13th or something, because reinstalling did not help. In fact, it made it worse. In fact, I'm typing this from a whole different computer because the other one is currently shut down. I'll tackle it's repairs later this evening, after my feelings of frustration have subsided.

The problem is, I have a newsletter I'm supposed to write. Most of it's done, but it's on the computer that's shut down.

This started me thinking about all the technology that teachers are using. What if the teacher has bookmarks on Delicious for the students? What if the assignment is something to do with Twitter or Facebook? What if the students need to research a topic on YouTube or Wikipedia or the Internet?

And what if the student has a computer that crashes like mine did today? That student may be able to make repairs, but maybe not. That student may be able to go to a friend's house to use his or her computer or may be able to use one at the local library. But what if they can't?

In this case, all the student can do is make excuses to the teacher. The student may be able to write some of the assignment on paper, but if research is involved, that won't work.

I think teachers must be very aware that these kinds of happenings will occur. It would probably be a good idea for all teachers to have alternative assignments ready or contingency plans for students who have computer problems. The student will be frustrated enough. He or she will not need a teacher who gets upset with them or marks them down for this. The teacher needs to have some compassion and patience for a student in such a situation, provided the student is sincere and is truly having computer problems.

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