Moving Mountains

This past weekend has been fraught with dreams in which I was unable to control anything around me.  Having a background in psychology and an interest in dream interpretation, I took that to mean that I was internalizing a bunch of stress because I was locked out of my TodaysMeet account that I created using my GAFE credentials.  I previously posted my frustrations because this is not the first time that I have had to go WAY of out my way to get access to a technology tool that in all reality should be open.
And just to make things clear.  TodaysMeet was not blocked by my district’s firewall.  But I was unable to get the password reset email from TodaysMeet because we are unable to receive emails from outside of our domain.  
Because of my panicked emails which I sent to the Powers-that-Be, I started my day with a phone call from our Director of Technology who then spoke with “someone” in IS.  And within five minutes (I’m not exaggerating)…someone from IS called my room.  They wanted to see what was happening on my end.  
It was interesting to watch them work through all of the possible solutions to rectify my problem (we were screen-sharing).  But I know a little about technology, so I tried to troubleshoot things on my end before I sent the email last Friday.  I even troubleshooted this weekend on my home computer using my own network thinking that it was a district firewall issue.
And it was.  
It turns out that the password email I sent last Friday, prompted TodaysMeet to not accept my username/password combination even though I knew it was the right one.  The problem was that my GAFE account could not receive the password reset email from TodaysMeet because they are outside of our domain.
I asked if IS could somehow for one hour lift the ban on outside entities sending to my GAFE account so that I could see if TodaysMeet actually sent me a password reset email. I was told (by two very patient IS techs) that that kind of request needed to go up much higher than them.  They mentioned something about the Assistant Director of IT or even our Cabinet (we’re talking all of the Assistant Supts AND the Superintendent) being the only ones who could approve that kind of request.  
Geesh.  Things were getting serious.
I told the two IS techs that this was an expedited request because I needed the transcripts from my TodaysMeet classes for my CUE presentation.  I told them that it didn’t really matter if I could use my GAFE account ever again with TodaysMeet…I just needed the transcripts.  
They said they would try their best.
About 15 minutes later, my phone rang again.  It was the two techies from IS.  They asked me to check my GAFE email.  
My latest email was from TodaysMeet with a link to reset my password.
So, I immediately reset my password and logged in to my TodaysMeet account.  I finally had access to my transcripts.  I.mean.seriously.  Someone moved mountains for me.  And believe me when I say that I’m so very grateful.  
I have so many people to thank…starting with the two techies in IS (D+G), my principal, the Director of Technology, the Assistant Superintendent, and whomever gave the GREEN LIGHT to let an outside entity send an email to my GAFE account.  
All is right with the world again.
I’m pretty sure I’m going to sleep much better tonight. 

Thank God for Plan B

I know I’ve blogged and tweeted about the wifi issues in my classroom.  A couple of weeks ago, I thought the issue was resolved when I got the magic blue light on the wifi booster in my classroom.  In fact, my students and I breath a sigh of relief each day when the blue light shines oh so brightly in my classroom.

Flash-forward to this past Monday.  The Internet in my classroom came to a screeching halt.  We had the blue light…but none of our devices could stay on the wifi network.  I troubleshooted all of the way through 1st period and partly into Period 2.  About 15 minutes into Period 2, I gave up.  I already lost two days of instruction when trying to use Google Classroom with my kiddoes several weeks ago.  I couldn’t afford to lose any more.

I switched around lesson plans.  Thursday’s lesson, now became Monday’s.  No problem.  It wasn’t ideal…and the order was now off, but at least the students were able to more forward.

The PR person from my district sent an email around 4PM informing us that the Internet was down district-wide due to automatic iOS updates throughout the district.

I didn’t buy it.  When Apple releases an new iOS, it doesn’t automatically update.  None of our iPads automatically updated to iOS on my campus.  We contributed nothing to the Internet break-down, but suffered none-the-less.

We took Tuesday off from the iPads.  My students participated in a TCI Skillbuilder Activity.  It was fun, it was engaging, but most of all, I loved hearing the conversations between my students.  Boy, some of them are sharp!  =D

And that brings us to Wednesday.  It was collaboration day.  My grade level colleague and I reworked our lesson in HaikuLearning.  We planned to introduce students to our LMS and have them complete two tasks:  a GoogleForm which would allow them to see peer responses and a discussion topic with peers from across all seven sections of World History.

Period 1 was able to create an account and complete Task 1.  Period 2?  Nothing.  The Internet crashed.  I mean, nothing, nada, zero, zippo.  I got the kiddoes started on Plan B while trying to see if the Internet stoppage went beyond my classroom and the blue light on the wifi booster.  It did.  I received a text message and phone call from a colleague (at a different school) who uses Chromebooks with his kids.  Another colleague had to take her students back to her room because her technology lesson was kaput with no Internet.

This is ridiculous.  I think the issue goes WAY beyond the supposed “auto iOS updates”…but whatever the case, it needs to be fixed.  And I’m not saying that because I simply want to use technology with my students.  I want my students to take their learning to the next level by using technology to demonstrate their understanding of historical content.  I have so much I want to share with them.  It’s like we’re all chomping at the bit.

It’s a small consolation to know the the district office is also feeling the pinch.  Payroll cannot answer questions about stipend pay because they cannot access their records.  Emails are going unsent, unread…unwritten.  A colleague at yet a different school wrote in an email, “I’m teaching like a cave man”…

Well said.