If you are going to run an internet training day, then one of the prerequisites for a successful event is access to the internet. So imagine my dismay when, five minutes before my demonstration to over 100 teachers was about to begin, I was informed by the local authority. that the internet had gone down all over the borough.
It would have been more accurate to say that the internet was still very much intact, but that access to it was no longer possible because the borough's wi-fi set-up had decided to take a break. But I was in no mood to quibble.
I always try to plan for the worst case scenario, and that usually means having handouts and a PowerPoint in case the computers go AWOL, or another activity in case the planned one cannot take place. But in this case the headteacher was adamant that the staff would learn about using the internet, and she wasn't the sort of person you would wish to argue with.
I always believe in having a plan B, and in this case that comprised the following:
- A PowerPoint showing how to use search engines and useful tips and tricks.
- A handout listing websites housing useful resources for teachers.
- A Q & A session about do's and don't's, and internet safety in general.
I'm not sure if all that would have placated the headteacher, or indeed the staff whose training day was about to be, if not ruined, somewhat downgraded in quality. Fortunately, I never found out. Two minutes before I was due to go out on stage, I received another phone call saying that all connectivity had been restored. I floated out to my audience, none of whom was any the wiser, and the training day went very well.
Even though I didn't need the plan B in the end, I was glad I had one, because it provided a certain degree of confidence. Although I didn't relish the thought of doing an 'internet unplugged' session, I didn't fly into a blind panic either!
Moral of the story? Always have a plan B!