Treachery, thy name is Laptop

I have a tendency to make assumptions about my students, at least where IT is concerned. I tend to think that because they are hunched over a keyboard, hammering confidently away that they know what they are doing. For reasons that I cannot explain I persist in this delusion, despite the fact that I have been teaching ICT for several years now and the reality of the situation has often been quite apparent to me.

The simple fact is that an awful lot of kids don’t really know what they are doing, they just adopt a kind of brute force approach: they keep clicking until they get a result they are happy with. To be fair, this approach often works, but it’s not very efficient.

So I really should have known better.

I decided to try using blogs with some of my classes. I set myself up with a second account at Blogger under my real name, I did the same with Haloscan. This might seem unnecessary, but I’d prefer it if my students didn’t find my online self, just as I prefer not to run into them when I’m out with friends. Needless to say, I’m nowhere to be seen on Facebook and the like. Obviously I try not to put anything online that I’d be embarrassed for students to see, but I wasn’t planning on making it easy for my students to find me.

I set up blogs for some classes. I launched them with the kids. I asked the classes if they use blogs, virtually every single hand went up to indicate that they do. So I explained what I was going to put on the blog and what they could put on and all that kind of stuff.

I never even noticed that I’d done it again, I was to busy feeling optimistic and positive – lots of students, even some that aren’t normally enthusiastic about anything, seemed really enthusiastic about blogging. But that’s where I went wrong, I repeated my classic mistake – I assumed that my students knew what they were doing.

They didn’t. So now I’m trying again, explaining what a blog is, where and how to comment etc. I started to do this with a few students at my lunchtime ICT club. After they left comments on their class blog they were keen to show everyone else what they had done, so I put it up on the SMARTboard during the lesson and started to run through how it all works. They wanted to click on comments, to show off what they had written, so we did.

And that’s when I discovered that my treacherous laptop had dropped me in it.

“Who is Three-Legged-Cat Miss?”
“No idea, why?” I was experiencing a very slight feeling of alarm as I engaged Lie Mode.
“It says Three-Legged-Cat on there.”

And so it did. I have no idea why – I haven’t been TLC on that laptop (only my own one at hone) for months. I have carefully (but apparently not carefully enough) removed all my cookies and history from time to time. I have recently commented on various educational sites as my own self. I have no idea how my Three-Legged alias had sneaked back into the waiting fields in the comment box.

Bugger. Apparently it’s not just the students – evidently I don’t know what I’m doing either. Let’s hope that they forgot about Three-Legged-Cat by the time they got home.

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