HELP… My computer doesn’t work!!!

Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of educators more than when technology stops working. After all, with rigorous standards and accountability to No Child Left Behind – teachers don’t have time to teach and be a technician too.

We are evolving past the chalkboards, dry-erase whiteboards, and overheads into the world of ubiquitous computing with 1:1 initiatives and interactive whiteboards. With all of this wonderful technology comes a need to know basic troubleshooting. The hardware and network technicians of world are out there and working frantically to fix all of the issues that pop up daily in the district, but I think there is nothing more empowering than being able to do a little of troubleshooting on your own to see if you can fix it yourself.

“Is it plugged in and/or turned on?” I’m not trying to be funny. Everyone has a story, either personal or one passed on from a friend, about someone spending hours on the phone with technical support trying to work through an issue only to have technical support finally ask, “Is it plugged in and/or turned on?” Yes, it’s embarrassing when something isn’t plugged in or turned on like it is supposed to be, but checking for these two things should probably be done first.

“Shut down and restart.” Seriously, if you call Dell, or HP, or anyone and ask what to do, shutting down the software, computer, or both and restarting is usually the first thing anyone will say. I know that shutting down and restarting can be time consuming but it generally resolves the issue. I also know that this is never part of the daily lesson plan, but it’s all part of being able to monitor and adjust and a whole lot better than waiting for someone to come out and fix it. 🙂

“Is the sound muted?” Thanks in part to streaming educational videos, sound has begun to play a much larger role in the classroom than it did with vinyl records, tapes, and filmstrips. If sound cannot be heard, check to make sure it is not muted. Double-click on the sound icon in the system tray next to the clock in the lower right-hand corner of the desktop to access the Volume Settings. Make sure that none of the settings are muted and that they are turned up. If you have external speakers and/or an amplifier, be sure that the speakers and/or amplifier are turned on and up.

Basically, I think these are the three easiest tips to keep instruction from being disrupted in the classroom. Of course, if these don’t solve the issue, you will need to call in the experts.

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