Day 1: Ready…Set…Fail

24 08 2009

rocket-liftoff-t7222Day 1 was intended to be a comfortable get-acquainted session. We would talk about the course, I would share some info about me, we would discuss connected learning and use their iPhones for the first time to take a short quiz over the syllabus (they would do this in groups and I would help them so it was very low key). As any professor knows, DAY ONE MATTERS, so I planned it out very carefully.

First strike: due to a university scheduling quirk, the 50 minutes I had planned was shortened to 30. That was fine, we just did the basics. At least we planned to. It was a nice idea. Almost worked. Sort of.

Second strike (and this is a key piece of info which came back to haunt me): giving a student an iPhone and teaching a student to use an iPhone are TWO DISTINCTLY DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES. This was the day I learned that we don’t yet have anything in place to deal with basic issues like finding email, using the app store, or rotating the phone to get a landscape view. As I looked around the room, I saw a handful of students who, rather than gazing longingly into their shiny new screens, were holding the phone as if it were something they had just retrieved from the floor of a gas station restroom. They seemed to think the phone was dangerous, perhaps going to bite them at any moment. At that point I realized we were going to need some remedial work.

Third strike: The quiz I had labored to create for them in BlackBoard did not work. Not one of them could access it, since obviously (ta da!) yours truly had set some obscure button somewhere incorrectly.

I have rarely felt beaten-up at the end of a class session, but that little 30 minute adventure wore me out. I sent them home with instructions to take the quiz on their own, and day 1 ended.

It was not the picture-perfect beginning I had hoped for.

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One response

2 10 2009
Scott Hewitt

I’m presuming that you have just started this ‘experiment’? It will be interesting to see how things work out. I came across this video of ipod touch being used in primary schools which you might find of interest.

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