Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Genius of the Work-Around

Want to teach problem solving skills to our students? Put them in charge of our technology. Anyone who has been in charge of technology, even his or her own computer to some extent, understands the strategy of the work-around. If it doesn't work in one browser, try another. If something seems glitchy, turn your computer off and try again. There are millions of examples of work-arounds and what I've learned from the work-around is that there is always another solution. It may not solve the problem completely or be a long-term solution, but the key is to look for alternative solutions. In essence I've learned to look out of the box.

Example: Last night I was with a bunch of friends who decided to have a pizza and movie night. The movie was downloaded from Apple TV (Apple's best kept secret) and once the food was delivered we settled in to watch the movie. Of course, it didn't work. The movie showed up as a white screen with the timeline bar across the bottom, but no video.

The work-arounds:

  • check to see if it's available through PPV (it wasn't)
  • check to see if it's available through OnDemand - (it was) - however once we ordered it through "OnDemand" it started 20 minutes into the movie and only recorded 10 minutes of the entire movie. Grrrr.
  • checked online to see if RedBox had the movie - (yes, but not anywhere close to us)
  • checked to see if Blockbuster had the movie - (no all checked out)

Yes by this point we had eaten our pizza!

  • restart the Apple TV device (movie worked like a charm)

Now my non-tech friends were AMAZED! They kept mentioning how "determined" we were to see the movie. (Just to add insult to injury, the movie was terrible.) We weren't determined, we were just exhausting all the options. It is the way we think. It is the way we want our students to think. Time to teach problem solving "work-arounds."


Sheryl Grabow-Weiss said...

Great post - it really is what we want our students to learn. It's the old adage - if at first you don't succeed, try try again.

kelibrarian said...

I would have re-started the Apple device FIRST. Next time you need to invite a REAL tech mentor to your pizza & movie party.