Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Epic Fail: When Technology Doesn't Work

Last week, I planned to debut the new standards based grade book to teachers in grades 2-5. I spent most of the weekend preparing the handout directions, my slides, and my words. When the day finally arrived, I was somewhat nervous. This was my chance to make a strong initial impression on these wonderful elementary educators.

Well, nothing went according to plan. We could not log into the training database, teachers could not log into the system, and some people needed their passwords reset. The training was a complete and utter disaster. Not only was I embarrassed that I could not get the technology to work, but I also wasted an enormous chance to build positive relationships with these teachers.

While every single teacher was incredibly supportive and understanding, it is my strong goal to prevent this from happening in the future.

After some reflection, here's what I learned to improve for next time:
  • Always make sure that you have a list of log-ons and passwords for everyone in the training.
  • Create screen capture videos that you can show when things JUST DON'T WORK.
  • Keep group size small. With technology, large groups usually aren't best.

What do you do to prevent an epic tech fail? I would love to hear from you!

Photo Credit: Twitter Fail Whale from www.twitter.com


  1. I always try to get to the room as early as possible and check the technology. I make my presentations on Keynote and always try to present from my Mac laptop but I do export my Keynotes to PowerPoint and I make a QuickTime movie in case I cannot use my Mac and must present from a PC. I made a presentation to about 200 people a couple weeks ago - no problem with my Keynote on Mac but the PC laptop I use for the digital hardware I was showcasing decided not to see its projector - my early arrival saved me as I did manage to get everything working.

  2. Can you hear the collective empathic sigh out here? I did a UDL presentation where the internet went down and EVERYTHING was on a wiki. I did have most of my videos downloaded, so that helped, but I felt like such a bad example! The worst part is that those who embrace technology understand, and those who perhaps do not tend to use our 'fails' as data against technology.
    Anyway, I compensated in follow-up. I kept adding to the wiki resources for that audience for months to come.. something I now do more routinely using LiveBinders.
    Good luck next time, and every time!

  3. Yes, I agree. When tech goes bad it's a tough sell for those that are already against it. I LOVE Live Binders as a training resource. Thanks for sharing.



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