A couple of weeks ago when I was helping a friend troubleshoot a problem with her MacBook. The first thing that I noticed about it was that she had ignored updates for 2239 days!
Anyone who has worked in an IT support role whether formally or informally has plenty of stories like mine. Many of the problems that people experience with their computers and with web-based tools, can be remedied through simple fixes like running updates and rebooting. But if you’re not aware that these simple things can fix your problem, you might not try them and skip right to calling the IT help desk. To help you fix your own classroom tech problems, I’ve put together a short list of simple fixes.
The following list isn’t meant to be all-inclusive. It’s simply meant to address common problems and their solutions. If you’re a person who is called upon to help with classroom tech problems, feel free to forward this article to your staff and or print this visual guide that I created (those subscribed to my newsletter got this as a PDF).
1. Run updates. If you see that updates are available for your computer, run them. This will probably mean restarting your computer which can be inconvenient, but it’s not as inconvenient as having a computer that isn’t running well. Additionally, using a computer and software that is not updated can make it more vulnerable to security breaches.
2. Turn it off, count to ten, turn it on. Even if your computer is up to date, restarting it can fix glitches. This is particularly true when dealing with issues related to connecting to things like printers and projectors.
3. Cookies! Do you have cookies enabled? Many websites (web-based apps) require cookies in order to offer you the best possible experience and or full functionality. Similarly, you may need to clear cookies in order to clear information stored in your browser for a particular site. Here’s a short video on how to do that.
4. Close a few tabs and background apps. If your computer is running slower than you’d like, the problem might be that you have too many unnecessary things running in the background. If you’re not sure what’s running in the background on a Windows computer, press CTRL+ALT+Delete to open the task manager. On a Mac open the Activity Monitor to see what’s running in the background.
5. Enable pop-ups. It is not uncommon for web apps to use a pop-up window for account log-ins and for additional functionality like audio recording (WeVideo is one web app that comes to mind as an example). If the pop-up is blocked, you won’t be able to log-in or see those additional functions.
6. Are you on the right network? Many schools have different networks for students and staff. There may be different permissions granted to staff than to students on those networks. Additionally, broadcasting your screen on a wireless projector and screencasting from your computer to your students’ computers usually requires that you’re all on the same network.
All of the tips listed above are included in the following visual guide suitable for printing and displaying in your school (perhaps on the door to your IT office).Six DIY Tech Fixes for Teachers by richardbyrne
July and August Webinars!
Register for one or all of them right here.