I had the chance to watch the Olympic men's steeplechase yesterday. Wow - what an event! The runners must not only have endurance, but have reserves to constantly be jumping over barriers and thru water pits! For those of us blazing the way with Web 2.0 technologies, I thought this event symbolizes us rather appropriately. Keeping up with the newest webware and apps dictates a rigorous, fast paced learning curve. It's not an area of study for the educational sprinter, but more for those who can go the distance. Attempting to use those same technologies can also involve "hurdle jumping" of fatiguing proportion when they don't work correctly or as expected.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Just this last week, Google provided me just such a hurdle to jump. I noticed earlier this summer that I could sign up for a Gmail account without having to have another email account. Perfect, I thought! I have always wanted students to use this excellent email service, but as long as I can remember, Gmail required those signing up to have another email address. Not so easy for students who don't have another email account. When I discovered that they'd dropped this requirement, I thought "yes!!" - this is exactly what I need at the start of the year for my students as we learn about email attachments! So, I proceeded to make two video tutorials showing students how to establish their Gmail accounts and learn about captchas, as well as create signatures, contacts and compose their first assignment (total video creation time approx. 2 hours). Even the morning before I was to have the students make their accounts, I tried Gmail again and all worked splendidly. However, as my first of three computer applications classes tried to make their accounts, a message popped up telling each student that they could not have an account. Seems like Google sensed several requests coming from one IP and thought spammers were trying to set up bogus email accounts.
Talk about frustrating. I'm learning to jump hurdles fast without losing much forward momentum, and created two more video tutorials over my 35 min. lunch showing how to do the same in Yahoo mail. I love the products Google has developed over the past few years, and I have to admit, this has been my first bad experience with Google. It was disappointing; Gmail is better than Yahoo mail, in my opinion (cleaner interface, less distracting, etc.). I would have liked my students experience it. Additionally, I would have liked to have known about this hurdle before students rolled in. Hopefully posting about it will help forewarn other teachers who have similar hopes and plans for their students.