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Posted by Bill Ferriter on Wednesday, 07/13/2016
One of the most important lessons for teachers living in a digital world to learn is how to be digitally resilient -- or persistent in the face of the kinds of glitches and hiccups that happen when you are working with old technology, unreliable infrastructure, or free tools. If you can't persist despite challenges, you may as well stop using technology in the classroom because those challenges are inevitable.
I had a first hand experience with the need to be digitally resilient today when I learned that Zaption -- one of my favorite tools for creating differentiated learning experiences for students -- had been sold and will be shutting down in early September. Given that I've got about 30 different Zaption videos about content across my curriculum that I use for initial reteaching when students struggle to master standards and for providing enrichment to students who master content early in my class, I was more than a little devastated!
But here's the thing: I knew that there had to be other tools LIKE Zaption that I could turn to and start rebuilding my collection of tutorials.
And ten minutes after finding out that Zaption was closing up shop, I stumbled across Edpuzzle -- which offers the same feature set as Zaption -- the ability to create annotated video tutorials, the ability to ask students questions and automatically grade their answers, the ability to see how many times students watched a tutorial. Better yet, Edpuzzle offers seamless two-way integration with Google Classroom -- a Google Apps for Education product that has become the primary hub for all of the online work that I'm sharing with students on my learning team.
I signed up, created a tutorial that is almost identical to a tutorial that I had already made in Zaption, imported my class rosters from Google Classroom, and pushed out the new tutorial to my students in no time.
Now don't get me wrong: I'm bummed that Zaption is gone. I invested a ton of time in creating tutorials for my kids and I'll have to go back and do that work all over again.
But I'm not giving up because (1). there are plenty of other tools available to me and (2). the core behavior that I care about -- providing quick reteaching and enrichment opportunities to students that are self-directed and created in advance -- still matters.
That's digital resilience in action.