Learning the Limitations and Learning from Limitations

Just because something works once
does not mean
it will work the next year.

It is no secret that you CANNOT blog from Microsoft Word. The HTML gibberish and MS Office specific trash inserted into the HTML code has knocked down my feed more than once.

However, my solution was an interim one. Have students write their blog post in Google Docs and then copy and paste over to Blogger or just use the Google Doc feature to send it directly over.

Drawing a Blank
It worked beautifully… until today.  If you look over at the TechnoCat Teens (this year's computer science public blog – every year they name it) — you'll see lots of blank space where their posts on augmented reality and alternate interfaces for computing devices are supposed to be.

Well, it is really not blank space, it is text that is transparent and the source:  Gibberish coming from… you guessed it… Google Docs.

Charting a New Course
So, I've swapped my lesson plans around and tomorrow we're going into notepad for the little 2-3 day session I do on HTML – writing it in hand and viewing it. Then, we'll go back into the blog posts ready and armed to fix the HTML code.

Surfing the Wave of Technology Flux
These things happen. Some teachers fear them. Some loathe them in fact.  For me, these are teachable moments.  Several things I will teach them:

1- Technology Changes.
What works today may not work tomorrow – get over it.

2 – It isn't worth starting over
Some will start over, but perhaps this isn't the best. I will give them two options — save as a text file and copy over or fix the HTML – I hope most will fix the HTML, it isn't really that hard although it looks daunting.

3- Relax and Go with It.
No reason to stress, sit back, take a deep breath and figure it out. Life isn't over because someone has changed their code and it is beyond our control.

4 – You Can Master Anything with a little Education and Perseverance
Find the answer. Learn How to Fix it. Do it.  Don't quit.

Mastering the SurfBoard
When they learn to Master problems, they emerge with a self confidence that they can do it and will never be limited by the constraints of buggy code or technology issues. This is life and they need to learn to live it.

Educators who have the goal of a pristine lab where things work perfectly just aren't living in the reality of the extremely stressful, changing, messing up world of how technology functions.

Those who learn to surf the waves of  technology flux are going to have an incredible ride.

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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kimxtom August 31, 2010 - 7:24 pm

So true and this constant change that is not always well thought out, but almost always excites and challenges early adopters, gives the technophobes more ammunition to grumble. I had a similar issue when we started using google docs again at school. What worked for me was going into Document Settings and unchecking “Create new text documents using the latest version of the document editor” until I figure out what the heck it is doing.

alfredthompson August 31, 2010 - 8:31 pm

Try Windows Live Writer. It is designed for writing blog posts and it posts to blogger quite nicely without a lot of extra HTML stuff. It’s free of course.

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