It’s not secret that for most people technology is both a blessing and a curse. I know in my life it certainly is. I have been guilty of spending too much time engaging online and not nearly enough time engaging with the actual people around me.
When my English department first went 1:1, about 10 years ago, it was hard for me to find a good balance between using the technology and being used by the technology. Thankfully, I’ve honed my skills and gotten pretty good about knowing when I really need the computers and when it would just be easier to use them. I’m all for using technology to help make life easier, but not so easy that it makes my students lazy and incapable of finding information on their own or completing simple tasks for themselves.
I’m especially against technology when it actually makes my life harder, which is what happened today.
Two years ago when my corporation switched to Canvas as our learning management system, I hopped right on board. It was very similar to Moodle, which I LOVED and found a lot of value in. I like being able to organize both LMS by topic. I like that my students have the option to turn most work in online, thus avoiding the myriad of lost or forgotten homework (on their part, not mine). I like being able to upload all of my resources online so that students can view them whenever they need them (again avoiding lost handouts and direction sheets). I like being able to give quizzes online and have them graded instantly.
My kids have been successfully maneuvering Canvas for over 5 weeks now, and last year’s group used it all year with no real issues (other than standard teenage user error). Recently, the word has come down from on high that every teacher needs to be switching over to Canvas. Obviously this is no problem for me. My pages were copied over from last year, assignments and resources all updated over the summer, and ready to go for the first day of school.
The powers that be, however, have decided that everyone has to add this special eLearning button to our Canvas pages. The only purpose this button serves is to provide a link to an attendance form (created for some odd reason as a Google Form), which can be used on eLearning days.
We’ve been utilizing eLearning days for three years now. In the past, teachers told the students their assignments (through email, Google Classroom or Canvas), students responded so that they could be counted for attendance and we input the attendance into Skyward. Easy peasy.
This year though, we have to add this button to our Canvas page so that students can access this Google Form. We still have to click on the Form to collect the responses. We still have to input the attendance into Skyward, but now with the added step of creating this button on Canvas.
Normally this would not be an issue for me. However, since none of the Canvas trainers who took us step by step through the process of creating the button use modules in Canvas, they not only could not give me the proper information about the button, but actually told me at one point I might have to completely restructure my classes in order to make room for this button.
HUH? Restructure over a year’s worth of work to create a button, that serves the exact same function as an assignment I already have on Canvas? I was livid.
After 30 minutes of extreme frustration, the realization that the trainers did not know the proper terminology, and actual tears from being told I might lose everything I worked so hard on, I figured out how to create the button. It took me less than 5 minutes to create it and copy it to all three of my classes.
Technology should not make our lives harder. Adding tech, or even just a tech button, just for the sake of having it, is a waste of time. Tech should work for teachers and students, not the other way around.