This is the HigherEdTech podcast Season Four, Episode Five: What happens when tech dies?
Tim Van Norman 0:21
Welcome to today’s HigherEdTech Podcast. I’m Tim Van Norman, the instructional technologist here at Irvine Valley College.
Brent Warner 0:27
And I’m Brent Warner, Professor of ESL here at IVC. We both enjoy integrating technology into the classroom, which is what this show is all about.
Tim Van Norman 0:35
Welcome. We’re glad you’re here with us. So how are you doing Brent?
Brent Warner 0:39
Yeah, we’re kind of at that settle-in part of the semester, right? Like, you’re, I feel pretty good right now, like, most of the students know how to use most of the tech and stop having general questions and understand this, you know, like, the timing of assignments, and all those types of things. So I think when you get really does take about five or six weeks to get to that point a lot of times, but yeah, I’m feeling pretty good, how are things going for you?
Tim Van Norman 1:08
Good. We’re a few weeks into the class with faculty, learning more about POCR and, and other aspects of teaching online specifically, and using the various tools that we have here. So that’s been taking a lot of my time, and it’s been really good.
Brent Warner 1:26
And for those people, POCR means Peer Online Course Review, not learning how to play the card game. Although I don’t know what you’re doing…
Tim Van Norman 1:34
It might be more fun!
Brent Warner 1:36
Yeah. And, you know, for example, when everything dies, maybe you can just break out a game of poker and pull out some cards, you only need candles or sunlight to play in a deck of cards to play poker. So today, that’s what we’re talking about technology and the days when it dies. So let’s jump over and get into it.
Tim Van Norman 1:59
So we were talking about this just a little bit ago. And I love the concept of what happens when tech dies, we’re techy people. So everything I do is on on a computer. And what do I do when that doesn’t work anymore. And so that said, I was reminded when I was back at the university, my senior year, I had a technology presentation class. And the teacher was known for walking in one day. And this is during the days of overhead projectors, and just turning it off and saying you can’t use it. What do you do? You had to be prepared? Turning off the computer? Nope, you can’t use that for presentation. He wouldn’t even show up for class one or two times. And hence it would have somebody else in there recording whether or not you presented it was a presentation class you had to present every time. And so it was things like that, that really have sunk in and have made me very cognizant of what do you do? Yeah. How do you prepare? So that’s what we wanted to talk about?
Brent Warner 3:09
Yeah, I’ve had a few, you know, situations myself when I’m doing actual presentations for organizations and, you know, technology fails, the room is not set up in the way that you’re expecting it to be set up and you didn’t get in early enough to double check, you know, are you like, I remember one like one of the first times I actually did my own presentation, and I got stuck in so much traffic getting to the getting to the place that I was like running across this convention center. And it was like huge. And then of course, my room was on the far other side. And then I get there. And the projector was like an old one. And it only had like a VGA plug in or something like that. And so I like I couldn’t even plug in my computer to it. And you know, and so and then you’re just like, get this anxiety that comes with it. And so this is this, you know, we’ve all had some of these types of experiences, and we try to push through them, and we learn from them. And then but even the other day in class, Tim, I, I dropped by your room and I’m like, hey, the projector is out in my room. Do you have any insights in your light and you were busy with something else? You’re like, maybe you do this? And that was kind of the only option. So then I had to figure out what to do if the projector is not working small, but like significant. So let’s talk about briefly. You know, what are some of the tech dying things we might see what areas might they happen in?
Tim Van Norman 4:30
Well, we always hope it never happens. But we’re so tied to power, what happens when the power goes out? Big one. And that can be huge because you may be inside a building. And so now you’ve got lots of different factors that come in equipment failures. You just mentioned a projector not working. What about the computer? What about whatever that is? That can be separate from a power outage you might be able to call support for and equipment failure. But what happens if they don’t show up in two minutes? Yeah. They’re all the way across campus, whatever. The reason is that they can’t do that. And what about tools that are available? If you’re used to if you’re teaching online, a synchronous class and zoom goes down, or Google meet goes down? Well, what are your options? How do you get back up? And have as little issues for the students as possible?
Brent Warner 5:28
Right, right. And so this can go across all sorts of different areas, right. So it could be, you know, the computer has a problem. It could be the Internet has a problem, like you mentioned, the power, you know, any, any individual thing can be problematic here. And I think, you know, across across the listeners across everyone out there listening, you’re like already thinking of the time recently, when that happened to you, I’m sure, right. We’ve all got it, right. We all have that little, you know, low level trauma or low level, like stressor that we had to deal with. And I think here’s one of the things too, Tim is like, at least for me, my first thought is like, let’s just cancel a class I can’t deal. Right. And it’s like, and of course, you know, after after a few seconds of thinking about it, we realize that’s not realistic in most cases, right? There’s, there’s probably always some sort of option. But I would imagine that there are people out there that would just go, Oh, no power classes canceled, right? Like, that’s what it means. And there’s just no two options about it. And I’d say, Well, you know, let’s actually play with this. Let’s see, like how we can be resilient as teachers, let’s see how we can figure out things and have other options. and challenge ourselves not to just take the kind of easy road out, but figure out a way to continue supporting our students. Losing a whole day is kind of a big deal. Right? Like one time, maybe not, but like it might happen again, right? Or it might you know, and so like, I would want to is it right to say I would want to triage that as quickly as possible. And then and make make some sort of way to make it work. So that like in the real case, when there’s absolutely no way to continue class than, hey, we have to deal with that. But there are there are ways that we can prepare. So let’s let’s look at some of these ways to.
Tim Van Norman 7:14
Absolutely. So a couple of areas that we wanted to specifically focus in on what about the computer? You’re at home, your computer dies? It’s 10 minutes before class starts? Yeah. And you’re going to, you’re going to be teaching synchronously from home. What about the internet, we had this happen over and over again, during COVID, where I would get a call saying, hey, my, I can talk on the phone, but my internet is down. I can’t teach the class right now. What are your options? Power, as we mentioned before, projector, those other types of equipment, that a lot of times happens in the classroom. And by the way, it can happen every day, right? Here on campus, we often probably at least three days a week have at least one person who has a problem with with either computer or the projector. So those are the areas we’re going to focus in on rather than the whole world of, of every possibility. But that said, how do you prepare? First thing I always do is I try to show up early try. As you mentioned before, you know you get in, you get stuck in traffic. And even though you left an hour early, so that you can be there, something happens and you can’t make it. So that can happen. But if you can be there early at all, if there’s any possibility that can make a difference. First of all, for you, if you have an hour to prepare, and you know that you don’t have power in your classroom, you can do more than you then you walk in at two minutes before class starts. And the students are already in there. Yeah,
Brent Warner 8:55
yeah, for sure. also point out to the like, some of these things like for me, I’m guilty of this this semester, which is I put my, my office hours directly before class, which has a lot of benefits to it, but also it because it goes like up to the minute before class, then I’m kind of like, Oh, I’m in my office, and then I dash over to the class. And I haven’t had the time to kind of settle into warming up the computer or getting the class going and making sure that the tech is all there. So so maybe it would be smarter for me to give a 15 minute gap between the end of my office hours and the start of class. You know, it just like, again, small thing, but it’s a preparation. And so I didn’t think about it this time around, but now I’m kind of recognizing, oh, wait a second, maybe I should plan that out, you know, next time or, or, you know, redesign my office hours to be flexible in that way, you know, that could have some choices there. Or I could even choose to have hold my office hours in my physical classroom, right? And so I can say, hey, if you want to come to my office hours, it’s not in my office. It’s in the physical classroom. You can come and meet me here for an hour. Before class, and that’s another way to make it work to.
Tim Van Norman 10:02
Absolutely, absolutely. So, if the computer is down, what options do you have? A lot of that’s gonna depend on where you are. Yeah,
Brent Warner 10:12
for sure. I think the first one that I’m gonna say, just kind of imagining that you’re in class, right? You’re in the physical classroom. You know, you have a couple of choices here for connecting other devices, right. And so, a lot of us, you know, we’ll have that teacher station, whatever that looks like. And that’s the, that’s the one that’s connected to the projector. And that’s the one that’s connected to the internet. And that’s kind of your core hub there. But one of the things that you can do a lot of the times is just plugging your phone or your iPad, right. But here’s the preparation part, right? Do you have that dongle that lets you plug that in, right? Because, you know, like, I have a backpack full of just different dongle types, and all the different ones that plug into all the years, I actually just went through and cleaned out a couple of them because I’m like, Oh, nobody uses this plug anymore, or whatever else it is. And I spent $30 on that ended that little dongle kills me every but but yeah, you know, so you can plug in your phone. And so if your computer is down, you can plug in your phone, you could plug in your iPad, and you could run whatever you have off of your phone, your iPad. So if you’re doing something like a google slides presentation that doesn’t need to be run on the computer, right, that can actually go right off of your phone, if it if it can connect to, you know, to the projector in some way. And a lot of schools now have the what is, you know, like the Wi Fi projectors, or the the wireless projector options as well. So, so those are some choices there. Another thing here, Tim is laptops, you know, if you’ve got your own laptop, a lot of teachers bring their own laptop as well. But the trick is, have you actually tested it in the in the room that you’re going to be teaching out
Tim Van Norman 12:08
of, especially if you’ve got a Mac. And the reason I bring that up is because we’ve got some really nice equipment that works beautifully for, for connecting your computer in to your laptop into our environment. But if you don’t have a Mac dongle, you went out and you bought, even if you bought a high quality one, if you don’t have a Mac dongle, you’re stuck. And it won’t, it might or might not work, or it might work for partially. So that preparation makes all the difference. The other part is if you’re at home, you got the same some of those same options. So you could by the way, connect to your Wi Fi with your iPad. Sure. And try to teach from that. I would find it very difficult to do that off a cell phone.
Brent Warner 12:59
But not ideal, but possible, right? It’s
Tim Van Norman 13:03
all but but that might be where you change your lesson. Right? Okay, and you do something that’s lecture only, or, Hey, I want you to do this in Canvas and come back to me with you if you got questions or something like that. Something that just allows you to to work with the students anyway, and not just have the time being completely wasted.
Brent Warner 13:26
Yeah, so those are definitely some possibilities. You could limit your your time on there. And then you could also use like, if you have a chat feature, you could kind of send those messages out through the chat feature, right? So hey, guys, please do this. I’m standing by I can’t I can’t be fully interactive right now. But I’m here to help. So use the chat if we if we have like pronto, for example, you know, you could log into the Pronto, and maybe make that work on your phone or whatever else it is. Last thing just before we go on to the next section here, though, is test before you buy dongles, because because like you said to him, hey, maybe that doesn’t work on a Mac, but maybe it does, right. And so you’re gonna want to go in, plug it in, see, because a lot of people are gonna be like, oh, I need to go get that dongle. It’s like, well, you didn’t actually need it, it works fine without it, too. You could have saved yourself, you know, enough money to buy lunch or dinner or something like that, too. So
Tim Van Norman 14:18
and some of them can get pre get to be expensive. Yeah, for sure. So, yeah. And especially if you can only use it ONE place. Yeah, it only works in this one location. So yes. So when you’re looking at that, sometimes even worse than the computer going down as if your internet goes down. Okay, so if you’re trying to teach a synchronous class and your internet goes down what are your options?
Brent Warner 14:46
Everybody listening is like, oh, yeah, I’ve had that during COVID That happened to every single one of us, right? Like there were definitely times when internet went down. When we’re like, ah, and then everybody was very forgiving. That was a nice heard about it, but at the same time we want it, you know, like we should be learning from those experiences and not just going well, well, it happens sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Maybe there are a couple options.
Tim Van Norman 15:10
And so one of them that happened quite a bit over COVID is I would get a phone call from a teacher saying, Can you please go into my class and send out an announcement to my students that Oh, really? Yes, absolutely. And you know what, that’s valid. Hey, we’re starting class, 10 minutes late today, because I had an internet issue. And we had somebody who, just before class, all the sudden construction going on, cut a line, and they were going to be down for a couple of days, that way. They let me know, and then they ran to campus really fast.
Brent Warner 15:46
That’s good, right? I’m just gonna point out the quick solution to that is that you can use your phone cellular data to send out messages to your students, right? So correct. So you can use if you have the Canvas app on your phone, or you can download it without the Wi Fi but with the cellular data, right, so the data plan, that’s, you know, some some of you are paying for have the unlimited version for whatever the whatever your setup is, right, but you can still log in, you can still send messages using the cellular version, I choose to do that as little as possible, because I don’t have unlimited plans. But you know, it’s like, I don’t like to waste all the data just on anything, but But you know, you can jump in if you need to. And that’s what that’s there for, right. So that’s a really, really powerful way to make it quick. And you could say, Hey, I’m just gonna log in, I’m going to send out that out. Another thing, Tim, I’m just going to add on top of this is, at most of your schools, you will have a an email address that is a block email address to your class. I think a lot of teachers don’t know what that email address is. And so they’re like, Well, how do I even know that right? And so reach out to your IT person, figure out how to get access to that, and then just save it every semester so that if you need to send out an email, you certainly can do that. You know, again, from your phone, if the Wi Fi is down, you can still do it. But send send out an email as an option. Maybe in addition to Canvas announcements or chat program, like pronto, or whatever else it is.
Tim Van Norman 17:18
Absolutely. And that again, that’s part of preparation, unfortunately, and a lot of these we’re going to come back to preparation is the is the key to being successful. Yeah. So if you’re teaching an online class, maybe you want to use a package like Screencast O Matic if you’ve got that installed, to record what you were going to present that day. You granted that doesn’t solve the problem, the immediate problem of teaching the class, but it can give them recorded material that the student can get to after the fact. Yeah, yeah, and still get your lesson, what you were trying to work with.
Brent Warner 17:57
And I think that’s a valid use of time, too. Because I think what happens is we’re gonna say, Oh, well, we’re going to cancel a class. And then you’re like, Okay, I’ve got these two hours off. And it’s like, well, maybe those two hours are good time to use to, it doesn’t have to be beautiful. It can be quick and dirty recording, but like, Hey, this is what we need to talk about. These are the things that you need to know sorry, it’s not synchronous, or it’s not perfect, for whatever reasons, but the core content is still there. Right? Exactly. Exactly. And then the last one here, Tim, I wanted to just go in analog, right? If you’re physically in the class, breakout those pens, and if you got the whiteboards, we’ve talked about the whiteboard setups, all those things. If you get those dry erase Expo pens around the classroom, students can work anywhere. I very regularly you can see this on my Instagram and stuff is like I’ll have students writing out assignments on the classroom desks, right, so they have like smooth, you know, they’re not wooden, fine, fine, wooden grain, whatever, like they’re there, you know that. I don’t know whether you call it like the plastic or that sealed surface. And so students can write with the expo pens, and then I can just wipe it down at the end. And they’ve they’ve been writing on the desk physically. One, it’s cool change of pace for the students. And they actually tend to like it. And they’re like, kind of feel like they’re breaking the rules a little bit even though I’m telling them to do it, but, but also they they’re getting work done right. And they don’t need to have all the Internet access and all those things that they’re like might be missing if the internet goes down.
Tim Van Norman 19:26
Along those lines. If you are not streaming, what you’re teaching, you can put a PowerPoint, you can even take a Google slide and export it to PowerPoint on a flash drive and bring that in. And so often when I’m presenting I have that available to me or I have it downloaded on my computer ahead of time. So I can plug that in as long as I have power. I have access to the projector I have what I need. I don’t have to have internet Yeah, and I know that sounds weird, but a little bit of preparation that way can make all the difference in the world.
Brent Warner 20:08
Yeah, for sure. And we’re going to talk about more preparation for the next one, which is power outage, right? So full on power outage, every lights are out, everything’s gone. Right? What are you going to do? And so I have a couple of thoughts on this. And Tim, your please feel free to add in as we go. But I think I think the biggest thing here is, again, that preparation is like thinking through maybe right now, or from the beginning of the semester, just one or two days worth of possibly. And again, this is going to depend on your content area and your class. But like, can you create a filler lesson plan, write something that is, you know, academically valid, something that is useful for the students, that’s going to bring them some some level of value, but maybe it’s kind of somewhat independent from the units that you’re building or going through, it’s kind of just like a one off just in time type of lesson, right? And so, for me, in my field, that’s fairly easy to prepare, because it could just be like, Okay, today, we’re going to be focusing on this grammar point, and like, and we’re just going to do something that seems separate, but it’s this grammar thing. And we’ll be able to bring that back into our writing or our conversations or whatever else it is. And so can you in your field, find some sort of thing that is a filler zone, but that’s ready to go. So you’re always have it ready in some sort of setting. My suggestion here is to have a folder with a bunch of printouts ready. So if you’re, if you’re really talking about being prepared for a power outage, okay, in my desk drawer, I have a folder with 30 copies of this printout that we’re going to be using in class. And I can just grab it and walk out. And it doesn’t have to be planned for any specific day, it can be planned for the day when this happens. And then I know that I’m safe, and I’m ready to go. And I’m not going to stress out about the other things. And so that could be absolutely one way. Of course, like we said before, same same as the internet going out before, using those whiteboards, right, getting everything good to go. What can you do on the whiteboards, that’s still going to cover the content material, right, just thinking about what can you say to the students? And what can they do with just whiteboards and writing that can still, you know, be productive use of time. And then finally, you can also choose any opportunities to go outside, right? So you might be able to say, like, Hey, we’re gonna go on a field trip, right now on the fly, we’re gonna make this work. And maybe it’s a walk around campus, and there’s something going on around campus. So let’s say you’re a geology teacher, and you’re gonna say, let’s go look at these rocks that are going on around campus. I did that when I was in junior college and community college and like, the teacher would just take us around and say, like, let’s look at the the flora and the fauna and the different things going on here and see what’s actually happening on our own campus. And so, so those are different types of options here. And then I think the question that we want to get to Tim is like, well, when am I going to do this? Right? And again, the answer is, right now. So like, you know, I know, Professor Jeff Johnson listens to the show, when he’s, you know, out there running, and he’s like, When am I going to make time and said, Jeff, get out of those running shorts and get into the pencil mode and start preparing your lesson that you’re going to use on that moment, right? Because that’s the way you can do it, right? It’s like we always we always, and I’m, I’m teasing for this is for anybody. But we always kind of say, Oh, we don’t have time for it. And it’s like, Well, right now might be that time. And just again, it can be short, it could be pulled from a lesson that you’ve used in the past that you like, that doesn’t quite fit in with things right now. And it doesn’t have to be a ton of work. But that preparation will make you real happy that you did it. You know, before the problem happened?
Tim Van Norman 24:09
Absolutely. And do understand that we realize that if the power goes out, and you’re inside a building, you may not have some of these options. You may not be able to use whiteboards. You might have to leave the classroom,
Brent Warner 24:23
on Windows for sure.
Tim Van Norman 24:24
You don’t have Windows Exactly. So, so understand that this that’s part of preparation, too is figuring out what happens when the lights go out. What are you going to do? And what options do you have when you walk into a classroom? Even just glancing around and going oh, okay, if the lights go out, how do I get out of the room? How do I get the students safely out into the hall? Is the hall going to be lit enough that people can see? Can you know all of these different things? sound? Sound like you’re being paranoid but the moment you’re Hot in that situation, if you’ve thought about it and prepared for it, you’re in good, good shape. If you haven’t thought about it and prepared for it, you’re gonna wish you had.
Brent Warner 25:10
Yeah, that’s a good point. I just thought I was gonna start screaming and say everybody run for your lives.
Tim Van Norman 25:16
Yeah, there’s certain things you don’t want to say yes.
Brent Warner 25:19
Okay. Be careful about that.
Tim Van Norman 25:22
So moving to the next one projector, let’s assume the internet is working. But the projector is not. And as I mentioned, that happens, that might only happen for five minutes in a class, it might be that that the last person left the projector not working. And nobody knows about it. For whatever reason, the projector itself isn’t working in today’s world, that is almost catastrophic for some faculty. Sure. Yeah. And frankly, I understand if, if what I’m presenting cannot be seen by the people that I’m working with that I’m teaching that I’m training, whatever it is, that is a huge deal. So some of the same things that we talked about going analog stuff like that can come up, but I love some of these things that you put in brand
Brent Warner 26:15
Pear Deck. Yeah, for sure. Pear Deck, like. So at our school, we now have licenses for Pear Deck. And that’s great. So I think we’ve talked about it briefly in the past. But if you don’t know what Pear Deck is, basically, it’s a Google. I mean, it’s got different versions, but like the Google Slides plug in, where you can click a button, and then the students will all get links to the same thing. And it’s interactive, right. And so it’s an interactive slide deck where they can vote, they can move little parts around, but on their computers or on their phone, they will see the same screen that you are sharing. And so it doesn’t need to be on the projector, right, they just need to have the link. And so you would give them a code like ABC 123. And they type that in. And then on their device, it’s going to basically show the slide deck that you are trying to show, it’s not coming through the projector, but you still got the internet so you can access it. And you can say next, next next, and they can watch the next slides on their devices. Or if they’ve got laptops, or if they’re in a computer lab, then they can still get access and see everything. So, so parodic even if you’re not using all the interactive features, but you’re just saying, Hey, I just don’t have a projector. Well, instead of considering a giant projector for the whole class, consider Pear Deck, like a mini projector to everyone’s devices.
Tim Van Norman 27:31
Absolutely. Having links in Canvas, if you’ve already got a lot of your stuff, put in place in Canvas, you could definitely Hey, everybody, go to login to your Canvas class, click on this link. And let’s go through this together. Same thing, by the way would work with Google Docs and Google Sheets. You can put that same thing together and or Google Slides, put it together and have them go through individually on their computer simultaneously.
Brent Warner 28:01
Yeah. And so what you can do in that case, is you just tell them next, right? Like, hey, we’re gonna go to the next slide. So you guys should be seeing a picture of a panda bear right now. Okay, then let’s talk about it right. And so. And that’s not as disrupting as people might think that’s very common for two people, for example, in online presentations, or even in real presentations, I’ve seen all the time where the presenter is kind of talking, but then they’re telling an assistant to click on the next slide and move it forward. Right? You know, it’s not the 100% best, but it works. And the students can follow along with you as well.
Tim Van Norman 28:36
Absolutely. And along the lines of what you were talking about with Pear Deck, and to take what we were just talking about an elevated a little bit, you can always just have all your students go into zoom. If you’ve got a Zoom account, just, hey, right on the whiteboard, here, I want you to go into zoom and type in this joint code. You the key, no audio, everybody’s microphone, everybody’s speaker turned off. Otherwise, you will hate this option. But it now allows you to share your screen and you’re already talking in class. So it’s not like you need to do anything extra in that. But it will create lots of little screens all over the classroom. And frankly, somebody can even do it on their cell phone if they really wanted to. Yeah, well, because you’re not worried about the video. You’re not worried about audio. It’s just being able to share that in that content.
Brent Warner 29:35
Yeah. And I like that too. Because Pear Deck is great if you’re doing a slide deck or something like that. But with Zoom, it’s like, hey, I want to just go look at this web page. And I want us to all go look at this together. So it’s anything that can show up on your desktop, whereas Pear Deck is kind of you know, I mean, it’s great, but it’s limited to certain functions, whereas Zoom is just going to show you anything that you can show on your desktop and so A really good option there.
Tim Van Norman 30:02
Absolutely. So, we’ve talked about those word preparation a whole lot of times. Why don’t we take a look at? What are some of the key elements that can help people be prepared? We’ve mentioned a bunch of these at different times, but we’ll put them all together. And we’re at one time. If your zoom stops working, what options do you have in your class? You’re teaching synchronously, what are your options? Yeah. So it all depends on what kind of tools that you have. So here at IVC, we have teams, Microsoft Teams, every student can get into it, it’s free. You send out a link, and everybody can get into it. Yeah, we have Google meet. Again, it’s all it’s included, you have your own license. And by the way, you could also use a personal license, if you don’t have it available. You’re limited in other ways. But But Google meat would work. Any tool that you got that will provide synchronous access is, is a possibility. And there are a number of other tools as well that are out there. We don’t have them here. Those are the main two that we have, that would be alternatives to zoom. But some people use the Big Blue Button. Yeah. As well as other tools like that. So those are all options. If one goes down, switch to one of the others.
Brent Warner 31:43
Yeah, and the only thing I would add on here and again, repeating a theme is hopefully that’s not the first time you’ve ever used it is the time you’re trying to launch it. So you know, if you get invited to a team’s meeting, okay, pay attention to what it’s like, right? Like, this morning, we had a team meeting, and I’m like, Oh, why is this in teams, but I’m also like, Okay, well, at least if I need to, in the future, I can know how to use teams a little bit, right. And so, so have a little bit of practice time for yourself, maybe with a colleague or two, hey, let’s try and just use Google meet a couple of times just to see what it’s like to log in. And to share screen, right, keeping it to most functional and simple thing. So at least you know that, hey, I’ve been able to do it in the past. And it’s not too hard or, or I’ve learned where to click the buttons that are different from what I’m used to in zoom, or whatever that is.
Tim Van Norman 32:38
And make sure when you test it out that you do it both as a host, and as a participant. Just to see what it’s like because a student’s gonna say, well, this isn’t what I’m used to. You, you’re agreeing and you’ve never seen it before, it’s a whole lot harder to troubleshoot with somebody.
Brent Warner 32:59
Okay, so next up would be like, something like Google Docs, right? And I’m gonna flip this in either direction to him. So whichever one you use, of course, like the opposite is Microsoft Word, right? Or the opposite the, the, the matching tool, right? So whatever you’re using, if you’re, if you’re the one who’s dependent on Google Docs, like I am, and hey, you know, Google is down right now. And that’s very rare. But every once in a while, we get super slow. Things are like, hey, it’s not loading for whatever reason. Okay? Yeah, Internet things. And it’s just like, All right, so let’s jump over to Microsoft, we’ve got that installed on your computer, you don’t need to have the internet access. He didn’t he whatever. And so let’s just do the Microsoft thing, right? Even if you’re kind of, you know, if you’re like me, like, stay away from it, right? Don’t use that because of this, whatever. It’s like, okay, let’s be flexible in this moment, because this is not the key ideal setup, right? And so when in an ideal setup, let’s switch around, and that can be the other way around, too, right? Hey, we normally use Microsoft, something’s going glitchy with it, whatever that is. Let’s switch over to Google Docs for now. Right? You can be a fanboy or a fan girl of one side or the other. But also like at the end of the day, we’re talking about word processor.
Tim Van Norman 34:12
Exactly. Yeah, exactly. And the same thing, by the way, Google Sheets, Microsoft Excel, any of those types of products. And it can be that’s why a lot of people don’t want to use Google products is because it relies on the internet. To an extent it does. But that also means that all of a sudden you get a brand new computer, and you have internet, but you don’t have your Microsoft Word document that you’re used to having it stored in your Google Drive. What do you do? You go to Google Drive docs, and it’s available to you. So it goes both ways on that?
Brent Warner 34:54
Yeah. And then so you said sheets and excel, Google Slides and PowerPoint of course but also put By now, there’s a couple other ones in slideshow type of things, which is a couple of popular ones. Now Adobe Express Canva is a really big one that a lot of people like to use to create these slideshows. So there’s all these kind of cool other options. And again, if the problem is the internet, then maybe those other online options aren’t going to work. But if the problem is, you know, if it’s just a Google thing, or like, Hey, we’re lucky we get we’re blocked from access for whatever reason, then you have some other choices here, so and you can go and explore and see what you like. But a couple of the basic ones would be Adobe Express, or Canva, which both have slide deck options.
Tim Van Norman 35:40
Right? And I know this next one, everybody, no, this will never happen. It did happen almost a year ago, right before finals week. Canvas had a problem. And all kinds of different things went on it basically went down for for more than a day. Some people could get in others couldn’t. What do you do? When canvas itself has a problem? Well, if you’re teaching your class, that’s one thing. If you’re trying to provide assignments and get people to submit things, that can be something else. So number one, I think in every one of these cases, is communication, communicate with your student, let them know what to expect. And you don’t know what to expect. If Canvas is down. Is this going to be five minutes? Or is this going to be two days? You have no idea. But acknowledging that to your students sometimes is a lot easier and better for them. Then just saying, What do you mean, it’s down? I don’t know. Right? You know, let them know.
Brent Warner 36:48
Yeah. The other thing is like, if you’re using Canvas, you can think through Well, what are the activities you have planned, right? So for example, if they’re based, again, going back to Google, can you skip the canvas setup to do it? So if you’re using, for example, Google assignments that’s embedded inside of Canvas, and you’re expecting them all to go through, say, Well, hey, yeah, normally, I want you to do that, because it keeps things organized. But today that’s not working. So let’s just go straight to our, our own Google Drive. And let’s just open up a Google Docs and do it directly. And we’ll link to it later, when we have the chance, right? That’s true for many different tools that are plugins and LTI. isn’t all of those things, right? So can you skip that middleman? So if you’re using Padlet, right, you don’t need to have Padlet embedded inside of the canvas every time you can just say, Oh, well, here’s, here’s the URL that I want you guys to go to, you can customize it right. And so here’s the URL that I want you guys to go to just go here instead, or I’m going to, I’m going to email you the links. So you can get direct access access to some of these tools that are kindly and nicely embedded in Canvas, but they aren’t actually part of Canvas, and therefore we don’t need it to make them work at the end of the day.
Tim Van Norman 38:04
Exactly, exactly. So as we’re looking at this, there’s some options, some mixed options to keep in mind. If you’re in an environment, that, that you have these options, you can take advantage of one, I love this one, switch rooms, you might not have that option. A lot of times we’re scheduled so tight that you really don’t have that option. But if you really need that tool, and it’s only down in that classroom, can you switch and go to a different
Brent Warner 38:44
classroom? Yeah, yeah, a lot of times are outside or something like that, yeah, you might have a room open next door to you. But also, you know, call your administrative assistant or whoever’s in charge of those things, because they, they will have access to a database. And they’ll just say, Are there any rooms open right now, and they’ll be able to tell you and, you know, 15 seconds, and they’ll go, yeah, there’s a room, you know, down the way from you another building, no power problems there. Whatever it is, just head on down, you can use that room. And so you might lose a few minutes in gathering the class and moving them around or teaching them outside, but like, Hey, you’re not losing the class, and you still have the options. That outside option, right? Like, let’s just take him outside who I remember, you know, one of my teachers in college used to always just kind of take us outside smaller classes, but we would sit on like these little, you know, these little grass pockets and little park areas and, and we would just have classes outside and have discussions out there. And that was a really kind of a peaceful, lovely experience and a different way to you know, enjoy class in some ways. So, so I think it’s good to kind of mix that up sometimes.
Tim Van Norman 39:54
Another option of having an asynchronous lesson this can be Good anyway, just to have something recorded additional information for students, things like that. But just creating that for them so that they can still get the content can be really useful if the tool that you’re using for synchronous isn’t going to work. Yeah. And again, especially during COVID, I had faculty who basically get a hold of me and say, Hey, I just recorded the lesson. And so I put it in Canvas. And is that okay? Oh, you know, some students might like it better. But that’s not something you want to regularly do on a synchronous class. But as a one off, it’s a whole lot better than them not getting the lesson at all.
Brent Warner 40:52
Yeah, yeah, totally. So. So hey, can you make that work? And that we talked about that a little bit earlier, right? Hey, I’m not online, but I’m gonna record this at the time, and you’ll be able to look at it in an hour or something. It’s probably not ideal for a synchronous class, but it works, right? Like, you can even say, Hey, we’re gonna get this done. Even if you haven’t done it, all you’re really having to do is watch a video for now. So. So yeah, again, don’t do it all the time. Like that. It’s not a replacement for your teaching. But it’s a it’s an option. You know, one time, you know, maybe one time it has to happen during the semester, and this thing came up, and we’re still getting COVID cases right now. Right? Okay, what’s going on? So? Yeah, so those are some of the options Tim we looked at, I think that gives some some things, the big, the big, big secret is, think about this concept and prepare for it and just have a few things in your back pocket. And I really don’t think it takes more than, you know, an hour of work now, to have several different options for those types of things. Should it come up? But also, I kinda want to know what people are doing out there, the you know, the listeners, what are your secrets? Like, you might have ways and you’re like, Oh, I can’t believe you didn’t talk about this, right? So I would say reach out to us, let us know, drop us a line. There’s, there’s comments in the in the show notes there as well. Or you can send us a message directly. But we definitely want to know other options, other things that people are doing out there, because we’ve all had the moments where the tech died. And so what do we do in that case?
Tim Van Norman 42:26
Absolutely. Thank you for listening today. In this episode, we talked about what to do when tech dies. For more information about this show, please visit our website at the higher ed tech podcast.com. There you will find our podcasts and links to the information we’ve covered.
Brent Warner 42:44
As always, we do want your feedback. So please go to the higher ed tech podcast.com. And let us know your thoughts. If you have ideas for future shows, there is a link over there where you can give us some of your topic ideas,
Tim Van Norman 42:56
or everyone in IVC. That’s listening. If you need help with technology questions, please contact IVC technical support. Also, if you teach at IVC, we’re in the middle of this 10 week online teaching certificate. We have changed it to be asynchronous, so you can join at any time and get caught up and stuff like that. So definitely let us know. Let me know and we’ll work with you to get you caught up. So if you have questions about technology in your classroom, please stop by the new IVC Training Center in A-322 or contact me Tim Van Norman AT firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brent Warner 43:36
And if you want to reach out to me about the show, you can find me on Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn at Brent G Warner.
Tim Van Norman 43:43
I’m Tim Van Norman,
Brent Warner 43:44
and I’m Brent Warner and we hope this episode has helped you on the road from possibility to actuality. Have a good one, everybody
Today we’re looking at how to prepare when the inevitable happens: Your Tech Dies! Whether it’s a full blackout, a blown fuse, glitchy software, unreliable internet, or anything else, you’re going to run into a time when your tech dies on you. In today’s episode, we’re looking at ways you can prepare for the inevitable to lower your stress and keep your class running (relatively) smoothly.