I’m frustrated and I shouldn’t be. Having broadcast far and wide, (it makes you wonder why you spruik), that we are going to do these new wonderful passion projects, (plus also having cajoled another colleague to get her extension group into blogs and wikis), and things all of a sudden fall apart. Timetables had been changed radically, enthusiasm levels raised, teachers had committed precious meeting time and then within a trice, the simple suddenly became IMPOSSIBLE.
Firstly the school homepage that houses the easy URL for the students to access their email was removed because it is undergoing a major overhaul. This was nothing major, BUT because everyone was so used to using this link, no-one knew the actual URL for the email login. Fortunately the technician was in yesterday and he tracked the URL down but then lo, something further on up the line had malfunctioned. So though we had the login page, the student logins wouldn’t work as they should.
Because we wanted to incorporate a blog and wiki into the gifted ed group’s work related to the changes in the school grounds and surrounds I had volunteered to take the group into the lab and show them a blog and wiki in action and then get them all logged into a dedicated blog I had set up. Because the students couldn’t access email to verify their invitations we couldn’t do the login. I instead decided to work through examples of other blogs when lo our usually very stable internet connection completely fell over. Ten minutes later the internet connection was restored, however any impetus and interest I had developed had almost completely evaporated. Amazing…..
Directly after this session I had scheduled a meeting with the four other staff in to set up the individual blogs for our passion projects. Thanks to the tech we had gotten our email back up again. We were soon actively enrolling our students into the globalstudent blogging portal our department has been enlightened enough to set up. Though this process is very mechanical, it is nonetheless time consuming as we have to individually enroll each student.
Building in the capability to bulk enroll large groups of students into Web 2.0 apps like blogs is going to be quite critical to the take-up of these tools as though my colleagues were quite willing to do the task, it had to be fitted in around numerous other demands on their time. This process wasn’t helped again by another bout of internet slow downs that had elongated the process by 10-15 minutes
Having completed the enrolls, things should have been okay but ………..
This morning when I woke about 5:30am something was nagging at my brain. Yes we hadn’t actually tried to use the accounts to make sure the blogs worked because of the internet go slows of the evening before. Of course when I got to school before 8 the blog creation wouldn’t work. Though it is based on WordPress and should enable multiple blog creation for some reason, (probably because of the need to ensure that students cannot create their own blogs without teacher permission), the process that I am quite familiar with with edublogs doesn’t work. I had two classes scheduled for the morning at which I was to introduce them to their now non-existent blogs. Instead we taught them Flash animation, fun but not quite what I had planned. As a result the passions have become a little less ardent and I shall be a little more cautious next time.