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When Technology Fails, Learning Can't.





First day of school. This is what all of my summer has been leading up to, right? I've found great new tech solutions and ways to implement them.  I really thought I had found the golden goose in the New Google Sites Beta my district had access to.  I was ready to roll it out on day 1.  Students were going to create a site and personalize it.  They were going to be amazed at how easy it was to create a web site.  I was going to let the parents know all about it. Man, I was stoked.  The moment came when I was ready to show students how to make their own Google Site. I was walking through the first step on my teacher computer and the students told me that they weren't able to create a site like I did. Bwah?!

Well, it turns out we have separate Google Domain names for our staff and students.  The new sites is available only for our staff.  Students won't have access until Google expands their Beta program in a month or so.  This writing I'm doing now is a little attempt to work this frustration and disappointment out.

In the end, my students in first block were great.  They actually tried to help problem solve the issue.  I think this bodes well for my upcoming term!  But it has forced me to get some perspective on the situation.  Yes, I was disappointed by the tech problem, but my classes today were fantastic.  They really were.

I think I need to remember the why of the portfolio.  The why was not the new web creation tool.  The why was the learning.  I came up with a new portfolio framework that I can still implement.  The framework focuses on reflection on learning and presentation of artifacts. All this can be done with the classic version of Google Sites.  It is just not as user friendly.

But, my students all have a new tech tool.  This fall we are 1:1 with Chromebooks.  So rather than stew in my juices of dissatisfaction I need to look at the new tool we do have.  If the portfolio framework was reliant on the Beta Version of Sites, would it really represent sound instruction.

We hear this over and over again.   I got a taste of it today. It's not about the tool; it's about the learning. So, we'll be doing our portfolios these next two terms is the classic version of Sites.  The students will be none the wiser. Well, scratch that.  I hope they do get wiser. Otherwise, what was the point.

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