We are now a little over a week into online learning. Before it started I’m sure there were many students, and even some teachers, that thought it would be easy. We can just stay home and work on our iPads? Cool!
Now that a week has passed we know it’s not so easy. It’s a lot of work. Not only do you have to learn new things and do your work, you also have to trouble shoot your technology. It can be very frustrating. It takes digital grit or digital determination. In other words, you have to work at it.
The technology we use is pretty cool. We can message people across the planet in a few nanoseconds. We can play games or stream videos online. We can find the perfect photo for an assignment. It’s important to remember that all that coolness is complicated. There are a lot of things that have to happen for the coolness to happen. If one of those things isn’t working then things are not so cool.
Below are some basic trouble shooting tips to try if things aren’t working for you but before you read them I want to remind you of that old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.” That’s digital grit. If you’re having some troubles don’t despair. Don’t give up. Try again. Try again in a slightly different way. This is technology. There’s almost always a different way to do something. Reach out to your classmates. In many classes I see students are posting help requests in Teams. Other students are answering their questions before the teacher or one of the Learning Innovation Coaches has time to respond. That’s cool!
Trouble Shooting Ideas
Now for the nerdy stuff but before we start, we have a post that deals specifically with OneNote Syncing Tips. You might want to go there now if you’re having problems with OneNote.
When trouble shooting, it helps to think about three main areas that can cause problems:
- The system you are connecting to. i.e. a website or Microsoft Teams
- Your internet connection
- Your device–your iPad or MacBook
We’ll address each of these areas below.
The System You Are Connecting To
This applies to any website or online system you are connecting to but because we are all using Office 365 and Teams is part of 365, let’s use it as an example. Microsoft’s servers do sometimes have problems. It doesn’t happen often but it happens. You can check the status of Microsoft’s servers here. The IT Team monitors the status of Office 365 throughout the day. There’s nothing you can do if Microsoft’s servers are down so let’s move on and focus on areas you can control.
Your Internet Connection
- Do you have an internet connection? If you can’t connect to something in O365, open a web browser and see if you can connect to other websites. If you can connect, how fast do they load?
- If you’re at home, is someone else in the house playing online games, streaming movies or music? In other words, are they hogging all the bandwidth? If so, ask them to pause what they’re doing and see if it helps. You may need to decide as a family to limit all non-essential internet use during the times when people are working.
- A word about the internet in China. The government chooses to filter and monitor the internet. We know this. It’s the way it is. The school does not use sites that are blocked but filtering will still slow things down. How much it slows things down will vary. We need to be patient. Sometimes stopping a slow loading page and hitting refresh is enough to speed it up–not always but sometimes it helps.
- Restart you WIFI router. Sometimes this can help get your internet working again. Before restarting your router, check with your mom, dad or whoever “manages” your internet connection at home. Make sure it’s okay to restart it. You don’t want to restart your WIFI router right in the middle of your brother or sister uploading their homework assignment!
- If you’re on an iPad check how much free storage space you have. If your iPad is almost full it won’t run well. Freeing up space can make your iPad run like it’s brand new! It may be time for a clean up. Delete old unneeded files and move ones you might want later to your OneDrive. The same holds true for those using a MacBook.
- On a MacBook, quit unnecessary programs and close unnecessary apps. If you’re on a laptop and you have 800+ tabs open you’re not helping yourself 🙂 Open tabs are probably using your bandwidth even when you aren’t using them. If you’re in the habit of keeping a bunch of tabs open you might consider using a browser add-in like OneTab. (OneTab works in Chrome or Firefox.)
- Restart your device. As we move around from school, to home or to restaurants, our devices get “clogged up” with all the network settings. Restarting your device can help. It gives your iPad/MacBook a fresh start.
This is a long post. If you’ve made it this far, well done! You don’t have to know everything that’s here. The important thing is that you remember that it’s here. Then, if you have problems, check back, read it again and use it to trouble shoot.