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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Learning the Limitations and Learning from Limitations

Just because something works once
does not mean
it will work the next year.

It is no secret that you CANNOT blog from Microsoft Word. The HTML gibberish and MS Office specific trash inserted into the HTML code has knocked down my feed more than once.

However, my solution was an interim one. Have students write their blog post in Google Docs and then copy and paste over to Blogger or just use the Google Doc feature to send it directly over.

Drawing a Blank
It worked beautifully... until today.  If you look over at the TechnoCat Teens (this year's computer science public blog - every year they name it) -- you'll see lots of blank space where their posts on augmented reality and alternate interfaces for computing devices are supposed to be.

Well, it is really not blank space, it is text that is transparent and the source:  Gibberish coming from... you guessed it... Google Docs.

Charting a New Course
So, I've swapped my lesson plans around and tomorrow we're going into notepad for the little 2-3 day session I do on HTML - writing it in hand and viewing it. Then, we'll go back into the blog posts ready and armed to fix the HTML code.

Surfing the Wave of Technology Flux
These things happen. Some teachers fear them. Some loathe them in fact.  For me, these are teachable moments.  Several things I will teach them:

1- Technology Changes.
What works today may not work tomorrow - get over it.

2 - It isn't worth starting over
Some will start over, but perhaps this isn't the best. I will give them two options -- save as a text file and copy over or fix the HTML - I hope most will fix the HTML, it isn't really that hard although it looks daunting.

3- Relax and Go with It.
No reason to stress, sit back, take a deep breath and figure it out. Life isn't over because someone has changed their code and it is beyond our control.

4 - You Can Master Anything with a little Education and Perseverance
Find the answer. Learn How to Fix it. Do it.  Don't quit.

Mastering the SurfBoard
When they learn to Master problems, they emerge with a self confidence that they can do it and will never be limited by the constraints of buggy code or technology issues. This is life and they need to learn to live it.

Educators who have the goal of a pristine lab where things work perfectly just aren't living in the reality of the extremely stressful, changing, messing up world of how technology functions.

Those who learn to surf the waves of  technology flux are going to have an incredible ride.
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