How to Help Alleviate Tech Issues During Online Learning

This is a sponsored post for Verizon. All opinions are my own.

Raise your hand if you are teaching remotely. I wish I could wrap my arms around you and give you the biggest hug right now. There is nothing easy about it. This week I hopped on a Google Meet to do a mini lesson on cyberbullying and let me tell ya, it tested every techie teacher bone in my body! The amount of tech issues that were occurring blew my mind. I had prepared for some issues to arise but was completely thrown for a loop when all of the questions came rolling in. It was pure chaos.

All of this is new for me too. I can't tell you how many interviews I have had to decline as well as really awesome speaking opportunities because I don't feel like I am the right person to be offering advice about remote teaching. I think since I am known as "The Techie Teacher®" people automatically assume I know how this online learning environment works. I mean, I know some but I have never had to run a class entirely online myself. All of my experience is in the classroom helping teachers and students.

This is a whole new world.

I did do a few online lessons in the spring when the world of education was turned completely upside down. However, they were fairly simple. This cyberbullying lesson I attempted recently stepped it up a notch yet knocked me out😂.  Therefore, I began reflecting on some ways to help alleviate some of the tech issues students were experiencing.

Online Learning Tips for Troubleshooting

Ideas to Help Alleviate Tech Issues During Online Learning

Enrich the Glitch

A few years ago by friend, Erin, from Erintegration wrote a post entitled: Enrich the Glitch in which she provides actionable steps for turning technology glitches the teacher experiences into teachable moments. She mentions the importance of talking aloud your thought process and modeling the steps you take to troubleshoot. Simple, yet brilliant...right? This is something I never thought to do and boy did I have lots of opportunities to enrich the glitch with students! Something like this could be accomplished during real-time video conference sessions. We all will experience some kind of technical issue at some point, if not multiple times a day! Why not talk it through while you are on camera? 

"You can't see my presentation? Hum...maybe I need to try pressing the share my screen button again that is at the bottom of the screen. Let's see if that works..."

Ask 3 Before Me

Another incredible idea I ran across appeared in the post by Edutopia: Solving Teachers' and Students' Common ProblemsThere is a section about tech issues disrupting work. Michigan teacher, Jessica Heckman, came up with a twist for "Ask Three Before Me". For remote learning they could:
  1. Google their issue.
  2. Ask a sibling or adult who is at their house.
  3. FaceTime/chat with a friend
This would allow time for students to try other avenues of troubleshooting while alleviating so many questions being fired at the teacher at once.

Help Desk

I know some districts have enabled help desks that parents/students can call into or send messages for tech support. This would be so helpful but I know isn't something widely available for all districts to implement. If your district can swing it, do it! The teachers would be forever grateful.

Digital Literacy

A common problem I see is that students are not familiar with universal icons that help all of us navigate the digital world. It is important to take time in the beginning to review important icons such as volume/mute, refresh, search, stop, play, etc. so students can take ownership of troubleshooting when issues arise. I have created several resources to help students become familiar with these icons that can be found in my Technology Icons Activity Bundle. A really smart idea for those teaching virtually is to have a few of these important icons printed out that you can quickly grab and hold up to your screen when you are trying to help a student or give instructions to your entire class:

Verizon 5G Service

Perhaps the biggest obstacle for online learning is home internet connection. For those who are lucky enough to gain access from the comfort of their own home, it can still be a headache when videos lag or multiple people in a household are trying to stream content all at once.  This is why I am so excited to partner with Verizon as they begin to roll out their 5G network in Detroit, Chicago, and Houston. Verizon is doing everything they can to make sure home internet is strong enough to support online learning. There is nothing worse than missing a key piece of a lesson just because your video lagged behind. Verizon 5G Home Service is the first ever 5G wireless network that uses 5G Ultra Wideband to power everything in a customer's home. Talk about SUPER FAST! With those speeds, you'll never have to worry about your home internet connection and multiple people streaming at once. The best part is, it is very easy to install. Then when it is time for you to relax, you can enjoy the free Disney+ subscription that Verizon is offering! Check out to see if it is available in your area by clicking HERE.
How to Help Alleviate Tech Issues During Online Learning and ideas for troubleshooting