Thursday, April 10, 2008

[TIPS] A tale of sensory overload

Every once in a while I hear a story that reminds me that not everyone is comfortable with technology. As people are faced with the need to use technology in the classrooms they are often functioning on Information and Sensory Overload and at those times even the obvious isn't obvious.

For example, years ago, back when the old Commodore 64's were being replaced in our district, our Electronics Teacher (remember when we had wood shop, metal shop, and electronics shops?) asked for an old Apple IIe that was also being replaced. I took him one and put it in his office. A couple days later he saw me and asked if I could stop in because it wasn't working. For one thing, he said, there was nothing on the monitor. For another, even if he typed in: load "*",8,1 (anyone out there remember that command?) that nothing would happen. I had some basics training ahead, I could tell.

I went down there to find... nothing was plugged in!!! No wonder nothing showed up on the monitor, eh? Here is an electronics teacher who was functioning on information overload to the extent that he didn't think about plugging it in.

Well, another case happened today and was told to me by the teacher herself. She gave me permission to tell the story as long I changed the name to protect the .. guilty. :-)

This teacher just received a new interactive whiteboard (A Polyvision board) in her classroom. I stopped in a few days ago to work with her to get her started. She even used it for a lesson yesterday. When she was done with the lesson she was a bit disappointed that the kids didn't break into spontaneous applause. I mean, she had worked HARD at that! And she commented that she was sweating and needed another shower. It really had her worked up. Too much information - sensory overload. But, the ice had been broken and she now was ready to try it again.

Later that day she was using the "pen" to write on the board - I'm not sure exactly doing what. But, she was into it. In one hand she held the remote for the board to be able to switch between the pen and the cursor, and to change pen colors, etc. In the other hand she held the "pen" and was working hard at writing on the board. However, it wasn't going well. It was very hard to write on the board. She recalled that I had said that it would take some time to get used to it, but she felt that her handwriting was just awful and that it was hard to read. Still, with true trooper effort, she plugged away.

In her last period class she commented that she was struggling with this handwriting on the board, but she felt that she'd get better. The kids watched her for a couple minutes and then one student said, "Mrs Wilson.. aren't you RIGHT handed?"

Sensory overload.


1 comment:

Karen Janowski said...

That is a classic - perfectly explains what many of us experience!