The Digital Switchover

The digital TV switchover has just happened in our area and, as such, has resulted in almost nightly calls from my grandmother because ‘its not working’ and it’s after last night’s call that got me thinking about how we teach the skills to solve problems that technology throws us to children. The conversation went along these lines:

My nan: the digibox in the kitchen isn’t working, it won’t change channel.
Me: have you tried turning it off and back on again?
Nan: no.
Me: well try it now.
(waits a few seconds)
Nan: oh, it’s working again! How did you do that?

It amazed me that ringing me was the only way to solve the problem that she considered, and seems to think I have magic powers in my ability to sort it out, then it made me think of how we can encourage pupils (and other staff) to develop a problem solving mindset when it comes to tech issues. I know that I have been guilty in lessons of fixing problems myself rather than letting the children try first, especially when you have a queue of children complaining, as I want them to get on with the learning I had planned without any time wasted. However, now I see some worth in letting them try it out on their own for a while; it won’t be what I planned but it’ll definitely be a valuable learning experience for them. Next time I won’t be so eager to jump in and solve as to ask them: “what are you going to try to fix that?

(the picture above is from a T-shirt I was bought for Christmas a couple of years ago – you can see it’s an ongoing problem!)

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