"But it worked last year!" Why you should have a "plan B"

Although it's been a while since I have actually been a classroom teacher, I certainly remember the frustration of not having my "technology" work during a lesson.  For me it was typically a blown overhead bulb and a busy librarian or empty supply closet, but today our technology challenges are a little more complex.  Having said that, it is now more important than ever to have a "plan B."  Technology is not fool-proof, it's not 100% reliable and it's constantly changing!

Here are some of my favorite things that are said to me in the midst of a technological problem (all shared with love, of course!):

  • But it worked last year! (or even yesterday!)
  • It works for so-and-so down the hall!
  • What update?  I have to do those?
  • I don't have a plan B!!!

The best advice I can give you as an Instructional Technology Specialist - HAVE A PLAN B!  Software is constantly changing and even one update can cause your "stuff" to not work.  And just because it works for Susie Q down the hall doesn't necessarily mean it's going to work for you.  Different hardware.  Different software.  Different day.  Different pants.  WHO KNOWS?!  :)  And as much as we would love to be able to count on being "connected" 24/7, it's just not realistic.  Last week a fiber optic cable was cut that nearly left us without an Internet connection.  (Oh, the horror!)  Luckily BISD had a secondary connection to get through the day.

If you discovered you had no Internet connection for the day, what would you do?  If you were told your interactive white board had to be replaced and it could be a week, could you still teach?  If your laptop were to crash,  how would you continue your lessons?  Do you have a plan B?!?!


  1. This has been a problem that I've continually run into while working in various school districts! When technology fails, oftentimes there isn't second plan and instead of teaching, teachers/administrators work to fix Plan A. This creates a lot of lost class time, which could have been avoided had there been a Plan B! I don't necessarily think a Plan B needs to be the use of another form of technology, don't get me wrong, I think technology is great, but it also seems to have a tendency to fail much easier. Perhaps it would be more beneficial to have a technology alternative and a secondary alternative to lesson plans? Yes, this would perhaps take more time outside of the classroom, but ultimately it would be much more beneficial to the education of our students- and isn't that what matters most? If the internet fails, or the smartboard freezes or your computer system shuts down, you absolutely need a back up plan to keep everything moving and on track! I really enjoy that you mentioned that 'just because something works for someone else, doesn't mean it's going to work for you' because it's so true! Technology can appear to have a mind of it's own sometimes, but we shouldn't let this put us behind! We're smarter than that! Great blog post!


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