Day 22: Doubting Thomas

12 10 2009

I don’t know what you do on your days off, but I spent the weekend pondering connected learning tools and techniques (yes, I need to get a life). I wrote a lesson plan that was highly connected and I expected today to be a great day. Instead, I found myself wondering yet again whether it’s simpler to just run, tail-between-legs, back to the tried and true safety of paper quizzes, scripted lectures, and non-connected learning.

It started with the quiz. We had 1 student who couldn’t find the link in her email (I fixed this one pretty easily). We had 1 student whose phone is going in for service today (I loaned him my phone to take the quiz). We had 1 student who didn’t get the link in his email at all…oh wait, he was looking at his Yahoo account, not his university account. But when all those were said and done, I still had 3 who couldn’t complete the quiz online. Ironically, one of the students who had trouble was the one I loaned my phone to, so I can’t really blame him for that I guess. Or maybe I can….

Oddly enough, at least one person was not able to log into our Responseware session: me. Actually it appeared that I was connected, but I could never respond to any of the questions. Was this due to some pre-existing state on my phone as well, or was this some other, unrelated issue. I have no idea.

Anyway, after all that I started to wonder if maybe we are dealing with a lot of issues in class related to daily usage. What does that mean? Simple: I’m not sure some of these students ever hard-boot their phones. As a computer, the iPhone periodically needs to go back to 0 and start fresh; I wind up rebooting mine about once a week, usually because it starts acting flakey. Nobody told me to do this, I just started because it seemed necessary. But I wonder how many of my in-class problems are due to some misbehaving app the student was running two weeks ago.

Possible fix: maybe I should have them hard-boot when they arrive for class. That two minute exercise (for those that know how to do it, obviously longer for others) might save us some real headaches. We’ll see.

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