Turning Technology Failure Into an Authentic Learning Experience

September 11, 2023
David Sunnyside

Technology is a wonderful tool in the classroom but sometimes it just fails. And when it does, it’s not only frustrating, but it can derail an entire lesson plan or project. But instead of giving up and just handing the class over to the tech gods, educators can turn a technology failure into an authentic learning experience for students.

One key strategy is redundancy — back-ups of data, devices, hardware, and systems. For example, a teacher might install multiple browsers on each iPad and teach students how to switch between them. Or, teachers may create databases to record student logins in case a password goes missing or the web server gets tangled up.

Also, it’s important to educate staff and students about the laws of technology. This can help people avoid frustration and save time when a system fails. For instance, knowing that technology typically fails in areas that are most crucial helps people anticipate problems and be more proactive about troubleshooting.

A recent survey found that adults who felt most reliant on their technology for information were more likely to be impatient about fixing their device. Yet, the vast majority of respondents were confident that they were on the right track when trying to fix their gadgets.

Educators can help mitigate technology failure by having an alternative lesson plan in place for each unit. They can also use their resources judiciously; for example, mining their own materials such as extra worksheets or books for an easy back-up plan when the computers go down.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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