A strange artefact from the future arrived at my classroom door this week. Since technology is rarely seen in my district, I had to ask what it was. Answer: an LCD projector, a sort of super overhead projector that hooks up to the computer they put in last year. Potentially, I should say. First we have to find a cord long enough to stretch across the room to the computer.
That object has been plugged into the ‘drop’ on my east wall (a ‘drop’ is a sort of magic watering hole for computer thingies) since early 2010. So far it has proved good for little. It takes 15-20 minutes to get it up and running in the morning. (Sort of like my students.) Last year I took attendance on it, believing that somehow parents would figure out how to sign in and see that their child was tardy 57 times. The goal was for us to post grades there as well.
This year, it doesn’t do attendance, grades, or much of anything. Useful websites like Google docs and Quia are blocked, but students always seem to be able to play games when we go to the lab. I mostly ignore it, since I am a MacSnob.
In addition to the unexpected technology, we received new textbooks this year. The English books are so huge that I cannot reasonably expect students to cart them around. In the real world, people carry Kindles, not books. I keep a class set of these weighty tomes, thinking that when it’s winter and my room is 55 degrees, we can build a sort of igloo out of them and stay warm.
Meanwhile, we can all try to electrocute ourselves with the exposed outlets in my room. I spoke to the custodian, who told me that he had ordered more outlet covers, but there was some sort of problem so he didn’t know when they would be in. Maybe our outlets are all so old that they have to go to hunting through the antique mall for covers.
My outlet cover has been broken for four years. I taped it over after boys started sticking paper clips into it just to feel the current running through their bodies. I didn’t notice what they were up to until they all started holding hands, trying to see how far the current would reach. I am not a scientist, but I know that paperclips don’t belong in sockets and that boys shouldn’t hold hands.