3 Common Tech Issues Teachers Face (and How They’re Preventable)
Tech glitches, software bugs, a dropped connection… we’ve all been there.
For teachers, the lesson is on the line when you have 30 faces staring up at you (or out at you via Zoom). Keeping students’ attention can be tough as it is — especially if their cameras are off — without technical difficulties layered in.
Disruptions like these distract from lessons, creating a tougher environment for students to learn in. But, they’re common and they’re irritating.
Faculty, teachers, students even, they all run into issues like these. Thankfully, there are solutions.
Here are three common tech issues teachers face, and how to fix them:
1. Teachers Don’t Have The Right Connectors Available To Them
Many hybrid learning solutions use USB-A connectors, but what happens when teachers have devices that require other or additional connectors?
Many newer devices prioritize USB-C connectors as it becomes more universally adopted. Some devices don’t feature the older USB-A connectors or other common connectors like HDMI and Ethernet.
In scenarios like these, teachers run into a dead end — or a frenzied state of mind while they quickly find a workaround. These seemingly minor disruptions stack up, bogging teachers down and stealing learning time away from students.
Here’s how to fix it:
Your hybrid learning solutions must have multiple connection points (wired and wireless) for teachers, so that no matter what device they use for their lessons — a laptop, tablet or even their phone — the system shouldn’t fail.
If the systems you use today don’t have the necessary connection points teachers need, consider introducing adapters as a cost-effective solution.
2. Teaching At Home: The Wireless Network Goes Down
Wireless network issues are common, with some studies showing 40% of people report connectivity challenges. This percentage may be higher for those in some rural areas.
But, it is critical to have a stable internet connection while teaching remotely. Without it, teachers have a substantially harder time reaching students. It becomes nearly impossible to deliver lessons. Video-based lessons are out completely.
In a hybrid or fully remote environment, nearly everything hinges on the internet and unfortunately, the same research suggests 82% don’t know how to fix their internet issues. So what can you do?
Here’s how to fix it:
There are several actions teacher at home can take to improve their internet connection, including:
- Internet speeds — If teachers don’t pay for speeds that allow them to stream live video and audio or upload a lot of data to a learning management system, they may need to upgrade their service. Or, it may be their modem that’s to blame. Old firmware or a faulty modem may need an update or replacement.
- Modem proximity — If the modem or router isn’t close to where they teach, it’s time to rearrange. When there are several walls or barriers between a teacher’s device and the modem, it can slow speeds down and create an unstable connection. If necessary, teachers should use a Wi-Fi extender in dead spots.
- Disconnect devices — When devices aren’t in use or don’t need to access the internet, disconnect them. This will free up bandwidth for the devices teachers use the most.
When teachers have tried everything to improve their wireless connections and it still doesn’t work, it’s time to try a wired Ethernet connection. (This goes back to our first point!) Having a cable in the router will provide the most stable connection.
3. User Error Strikes Again (But Is It The Teacher’s Fault?)
When technical support gets bogged down with repetitive tickets, complaints or issues, it’s often something isn’t working — or user error.
But, what’s at the heart of user error?
The challenge isn’t solely that teachers don’t know how to use the tech — although, that’s part of it — but it’s also that the system isn’t intuitive, meaning teachers expect the system to work in one way but it actually works in another.
When teachers try to jump in and use the system, they hit a roadblock because sometimes it wasn’t designed with the teacher in mind. This can cause frustration in the classroom, but outside of it as well. Adoption issues result from poor experiences and a lack of understanding, and then technical debt follows.
Here’s how to fix it:
Teach the teachers. Training teachers and staff how to use the systems effectively will make them more confident in the classroom (or via Zoom), which will result in smoother lessons and more positive experiences.
Provide handouts, materials and points of reference for them to fall back on if they get stuck or need additional support while delivering a lesson. By giving them the knowledge and tools to troubleshoot, it will not only free up tech support but it’ll empower them as well. This is an important step that often gets missed but leads to several challenges down the line.
Design Hybrid Classrooms with Teachers and Students in Mind
Delivering lessons in a hybrid classroom can challenge teachers to go outside of their comfort zones with technology or even create barriers to connectivity. While technology can enable collaboration, it’s important for classrooms to have the right solutions.
At Hall Technologies, we’ve designed our classroom solutions with teachers in mind. With multiple connectors and a simple interface, teachers can focus on instruction instead of setup or troubleshooting.