Skip to content

Remote Tech

1. So Many Steps

“I did the assignment,” she said in an email.

She’s pretty good at keeping up with her grades. And when she sees something that she thinks is wrong, she lets me know. I depend on that. 

“Thanks for letting me know,” I replied. 

I checked Google Classroom, suspecting that I might have forgotten to copy her Google Classroom score into our grading system.

(The life of a teacher is peppered with such manual interventions to compensate for school district budgets that can’t afford to pay for “seamless integration”. After all, why pay for expensive automation when inexpensive teachers can do it by hand. And teachers are so accustomed to doing whatever’s necessary, that they just deal with it. And so we log into one system, open a PDF file, copy what we see, log out, log into another system, and paste in what saw. Log out. Dang, I’ve digressed…)

I brought up the assignment and clicked on her name. There was nothing there. 

“I don’t see your assignment.” 

“Well I remember doing it.” No doubt she did.

Here’s the thing of it (and this I thought only to myself)…

There is a difference between doing it and turning it in. And, there is a difference between clicking the turn-in button and confirming that is got turned in. (As in: don’t close the browser window until your credit card purchase has completed.)

“Make sure you turned it in,” I suggested.

A day later, her assignment appeared in Google Classroom.

2. Upon Reflection

Objectively, there are many steps to remember. Many things that can go wrong. Some students get it and some don’t. Many must throw up their hands and give up.

Get a laptop. Get a hotspot. Turn them on. Log in. Get them to talk to each other. Did you sync with the campus network first? Get the Google Classroom code. Were you on Zoom that day? Check your Google Classroom to-do list. Open the assignment. Read the PDF. Solve the problems on separate sheets of paper. Take pictures of all your work. Attach the pictures to the assignment. Click the turn-in button. Make sure the turn in succeeds.

Yep. Many steps.

I am reminded of an old video about a medieval monk help desk technician explaining the new “book” system that was replacing the old “scroll” system. A struggling monk throws up his hands in exasperation.

If you haven’t seen it, you really must. It captures the challenges that many of our families are facing. (It also captures perfectly the life of a help desk technician.)