The Third Time Is a Charm

Given the nature of what was covered in my classes yesterday, I decided to teach virtually using Zoom.

I feel pretty comfortable using Zoom, but it had been a while since I used it for a full class. In addition, this would be my first time using a Windows-based laptop for Zoom, since my Macbook Air seems like it may be on its last legs.

If you’re thinking that I’m hinting that there were some problems, you are correct.

Since I have been having trouble getting to know the students’ names this semester, another teacher suggested I take a screen shot of my students at the start of the Zoom session, since I would be able to put a name with a face (a maskless face at that!)

I also planned to use the breakout room feature in Zoom to split my students into smaller groups of 3-5 students for part of the class so that they could have a chance to get to know each other a bit. Doing so seems to have been a challenge this past year. I made sure I practiced how to use the breakout room feature before class started, so that I would be ready to go when that time arrived.

My first class was an 8:00 class, and I completely forgot about taking a screen shot. But I did remember to put them into their breakout rooms. Well, I should say breakout room. I forgot about the need to specifically set up separate breakout rooms, and I ended up putting all 45 students into one breakout room, which kind of defeated the whole purpose. I would have loved to hear the jokes they were having at my expense in that breakout room.

But I made sure I was ready for my 9:10 class. Right after class started I told them about wanting to take a screenshot of them on Zoom, and after getting them all to smile, I hit the PrtScr button on my Dell laptop. It was hard to tell if anything happened, but how hard can it be to hit PrtScr? When it came time for the breakout rooms, I remembered the need to set up multiple rooms, but I could not find the setting on how to do so (despite practicing earlier that morning). There’s not many things worse for a teacher than trying to figure out how to use a technology feature in real time, with 45 students staring at you. After a couple of minutes, I finally figured it out, and we were good to go.

After that class ended, I had 20 minutes before my next one, so I decided to take a look at the screen shots from the previous class. Unfortunately, there were none to be found. I went to Google to see if I was doing things correctly, and I discovered that I also need to hold the Windows button down while pressing the PrtScr button.

So two classes, no screen shots.

I vowed that I would get everything right for my next class, even practicing how to do a proper print screen.

Before I knew it, the 10:20 students started to arrive for my next Zoom session, and once they were all present, I took a PrtScr, and everything worked. When it came time for the breakout rooms, I was an old pro by now, and they were in their breakout rooms before they knew what hit them

So like the old saying goes, the third time was the charm. Fortunately, everything worked correctly for my fourth and final class as well.

In hindsight, getting the technology to work should be a given, allowing the teacher to focus on the actual content he or she is trying to deliver.

I guess I’ll worry about that the next time…



41 thoughts on “The Third Time Is a Charm

  1. So much of technology is not user-friendly or intuitive. We’re constantly facing learning curves for this, that, and the other thing. It seems just when we think we’ve mastered some piece of technology, it becomes obsolete and is replaced by a new thing to learn. So I can understand your confusion and fumbling about.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I have been part of a zoom meeting but not the one who sets it up…I applaud you, Jim …I have however fallen foul of the screenshots and forgot to press the windows tab on a few occasions thank you for the reminder ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Technology is great until something goes amiss. Sometimes it’s because of the operator (me), but at other times it is the technology gods deciding “let’s get a rise out of Springer today.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. i so get every word of this. reminds me of last spring when we suddenly had to go virtual with an afternoon’s notice. tech is not my strong suit to say the least and i had 5 new technologies to teach myself. there were some crazy ‘mishaps’, okay more than some, but somehow i muddled through, and gradually was able to get at least some of it to work. we howl with laughter at the videos we made as part of our lessons, but at least they kept the workload a little lighter. luckily, your third time worked!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. you have the right attitude about technology, sometimes you just have to got with the flow and hope that at some point you figure it out. My wife really enjoyed using Flipgrid with her pre-k students when they went virtual, not sure if that was one of the technologies you started to use…


  5. That Window-based laptop could probably smell the “Apple” all over you and decided to teach you a lesson….๐Ÿ˜ You are the poster boy for persistence though, Mr. Q, and now you have made Zoom your willing minion. I, too, would have loved to overhear the conversations from your first class all trapped in the same breakout room. But more importantly, are you thinking it is time for a new MacBook or just a visit to the Geek Squad?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure my dell pc could hear me saying things like “this is so much easier on a macbook”, and decided to get its revenge!

      and hopefully a trip to the genius bar will take care of my macbook problem, and at not too high a cost…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Like me, you are getting older and whether we like it or not, some of our mental acuity washes down the drain each morning with those hairs that used to be on our heads. That being said, it beats the alternative.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Iโ€™ve only used Zoom once, to attend an online concert. It took me until about 20 minutes in to work out why I couldnโ€™t seen any participants other than those on the main screen, so I hate to think what Iโ€™d do with teaching!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It wasnโ€™t bad. I couldnโ€™t find a button to AirPlay it to my tv so had to watch on my iPad, with headphones. Still very enjoyable, though – it was Gretchen Peters, who appeared in a recent Tuesday Tunes. In view of that comment, you may like to reconsider your assessment of my Zoom skills…


  8. Adventures with technology are always an interesting challenge. Glad you got it all figured out. Of course as soon as they upgrade the software everything you figured out will probably change. Software developers do like to keep us on our toes.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If you are using windows I recommend searching for the ‘shipping tool’ it allows you to grab as much of the screen as you need for screenshots. You simply drag and drop, then it shows what you’ve got and can save – useful as you know its definitely done it!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So funny! You get an A + for endurance. I am not a Zoomer. I don’t like it. I was on a family reuinion one, twice last summer and nobody seemed to know what they’re doing. People talking at the same time, to many people at once, and had trouble latching on to the Zoom from the invite. Yes, it’s like you have to learn another language to do anything anymore, technology to operate all these apps. And my pet peeve with Windows (among very many) is the danged printscreen. Many times I thought I captured and I hadn’t, so been there. Lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to give credit to the teachers for plugging along and getting things done no matter what’s entailed. I could probably handle Zoom with 2 or 3 people, but that’s it. I do like the way you can ‘group’ people off separately, which also may make things easier ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can’t imagine how challenging it must have been for k-12 teachers, particularly if they are also dealing with having their own kids at home. We had it relatively easy compared to that!

        Liked by 1 person

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