Sunday, May 30, 2010

Well, it FEELS like "Little House on the Prairie"

Since I'm teaching a history of rock and roll music this summer, one of the things I've done in my preparation is to create several brief but interactive Power Points to use on a Smartboard. For those of you who don't know what a Smartboard is: it looks like a white board but it's actually a large computer-ish screen and you can touch the board, making it interactive. For example, you show your Power Point slides on it, and then use the special Smartboard markers to write on the shown image and then move to the next slide, the writing slides away. Oh, hell, just google Smartboard since I'm doing a crappy explanation.

The point is, I made a Power Point slide show (several of them) with interactive games, Behind the Music video clips from YouTube (because those are free and buying the sets from VH1 are prohibitively expensive), and lots of pictures and set to music. I made 4 of these. Sounds cool, if I do say so myself. Right?

Except.... But... (there's always a "but")

Except... the school where I'm teaching doesn't give the part-time summer staff computer access. No passwords, no logins. Well, okay, that doesn't sound so bad, I think. I have a laptop and the building is wireless so I can bring all my presentations that way, and just hook into one of their LCD projects and show it from my laptop to the Smartboard.


Except the guy in charge isn't sure he will be able to give me the wireless password.

Except they don't have any Smartboards.

Except they don't have any LCD projects.

So... for those of you keeping score here, I have an interactive Power Point with games, video, pictures, and music and no way to show it, to anyone. No way to get the videos from the net, no speakers so people could hear the music, no-- well, hell, no projector to show it at all!

Like I said, it's like Little House on the Prairie teaching! Well, other than the fact that we will have central air conditioning, and electricity, and I won't be arriving by horse and buggy... but Miss Beatle and I are both single... but I digress.

Oh oh OH!!! AND!!! The kids have zero access to computers for the summer. None, zip, zilch. So no activities that would involve them looking stuff up on the Internet. And the library is closed this summer (for repainting and asbestos removal) so we can't even use... BOOKS!

Guess what I spent most of yesterday doing? Revamping ALL my lesson plans for the music class. I did three days worth. Now, those of you who are old school and have taught the days before video and the Internet and technology, enjoy the laugh. But think about it: how many of us design our lessons using technology? Using the net? Who rely on these to provide quality "edutainment" in this era of kids with an MTv attention span?

I am going to ask if I can have an overhead projector because if I can, then I'll copy all my Power Point slides onto overhead so they could at least see the pictures and the text. I have all the music on my iPod, and will bring it with me, and my iHome and play music that way. I've converted the games to construction paper and markers and bells. I'm screwed with the video clips. They are copy-righted so I can't even illegally down them and burn them on DVD. It's just weird to think backwards, I guess.

Back to the drawing board, since there isn't a Smartboard,


september cottage said...

OH Maggie! Why is NOTHING ever straight forward???? And all that work you have done...what a pain!!! Well, good luck - I am SURE you will get there in the end!!!!

Hope you get to enjoy a what is left of this Sunday!!! Nicola

Shan said...

All that smart board talk kept making me call you "smart broad" in my head! Whew! School is so Matrix these days!
This is the extent of my techno knowledge. I can type and click.
Go teacher! Sounds like you'll make it great either way. :D

Maggie said...

Nicola@ Sept. Cottage: I know I prolly should've asked first but I was just shocked at the lack of available technology. It will all work out in the end, I know, but drat for having to do the do-overs!

Shan- Smart BROAD? OMGosh, I am cracking up!!!! When I teach your kids, we will so have a Smart BOARD for them to play with! LOL!

Evil Pixie said...

Good grief! How do they expect you to teach without access? Bureaucrates!

Dogmom Diva said...

Maggie, that is crazy..but you will manage...sounds pretty bad with NO computer access..or books..not very smart planning on the school's part, but...since when did beaurocrates do anything smart..Hang in there girl.