apple in hand
looking through windows
at the cloud
What do you picture?
A puffy white cloud seen through a window frame with a crisp Red Delicious waiting to be eaten?
Or do you notice the incongruity of trying to access the Cloud using Windows and an Ipad?
My day began with clouds. Real clouds. Beautiful golden puffs of strato-cumulous lit on the east by the rising sun. They were so delightful my heart burst into a hymn.
When morning gilds the skies
my heart awaking cries
“May Jesus Christ be praised!”
Yeah, it was that kind of O What a Beautiful Morning. I would have stopped to take pictures but the traffic report already had me dreading the deadlock near school. And it was predictably bad. So bad that all late students to school had an automatic excused tardy. So I ate my egg-bagel sandwich and enjoyed the view through the car window as I drove. (The apple came later as part of the Wednesday morning teacher snack.)
Ensconced in my classroom I no longer notice clouds. I am in the Cloud. It feels more like a fog though. I have trouble knowing where I am. Most of my files are on the school server via my desktop. They are Windows files. But as a pilot teacher in the technology program (roll on the floor laughing, yes you may), I am using the Ipad for many new innovative things, like note-taking, accessing the online textbook program, and submitting paperless documents for grading. All of these can be done with plain old textbook and pencil and paper, but that’s another story.
At any given moment, I have no idea where I am. Students give me letters they have written for their French penpals. Some send me a Word document. I can’t read that on my Ipad. Others send me a Notability file. I can’t read that on my desktop. Still others give me a plain ol’ piece of paper that I have to scan into a PDF–at home, because I know how to do it with my printer at home. All these get sent to a teacher in France, but I send them piece meal because they are getting sent from different devices. Ok, yes, I’m sure there is an easier way to do this. But I haven’t figured it out yet. (The simplest way, of course, is to put all the letters in an envelope and mail it to France, but the quick turn-around of replies from France wins over the technology curmudgeons.)
I have found an app (Showbie) that could very well be the answer to this dilemma. I show it to my students. It’s on the Ipad. I switch the input on the Smartboard from my desktop to the Ipad. My Ipad is now displaying on the board. Cool, huh? But the Ipad is not in my hand as I freely roam the classroom. The Ipad is tethered to a cable and sitting by my desktop. If I go to type on the Ipad, I use the computer keyboard by mistake. I try to scroll the Smartboard screen with my finger but have to remember that I’m on the Ipad and must scroll via the Ipad screen.
The students find this rather amusing. They love it when teachers pull their hair out in class.
Then there is the issue of browsers. Once upon a time, like last year, I was blissfully using Internet Explorer for all my computing needs. I knew there were other browsers out there, but, what the hey, my life was relatively simple. Ah, but then issues arose and we were instructed to use Google Chrome to access our gradebooks. Do I need to tell you how that messed up all my preset links? The default browser on the Ipad is Safari. I was fine with that until a student explained to me that the new online textbook will only open in Google Chrome. So just getting onto the worldwide web is now a jumble of options.
I have no idea when I go to a website if I am on Internet Explorer, Safari, or Google Chrome. Yes, yes, it looks plain as day that I should just use Google Chrome, but I have all these icons preset to send me to sites. Do I have to reset them all? Really? I don’t even know how I did it the first time.
I can’t remember when I look at a document whether I am in Word or PDF.
A colleague suggests putting all my documents on DropBox. She loves DropBox. I have at least a bazillion files on the school server, and more at home. I know where they are. I’m not moving them.
“It’s easy,” she says.
“I’m not moving them,” I reply.
She’s lucky I do not launch her to a Cloud through a Window.
I drive home watching golden puffy clouds through the car window, lit now by the sunset in the west. I forgot the crunchy teacher apple that I saved for my ride home. My other Apple, the Iphone, dings text alerts. I ignore the distraction.
I’m happily distracted by golden puffs of clouds lit by the sunset in the west.