Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Technology Troubleshooting

Section I: Overview of Web Computing
[ ]Perform basic troubleshooting processes when either the computer or the Internet is not working.

One of our most basic skills we can use is Technology Troubleshooting. What does that mean?
Learning technology is two fold. On one side we learn about technology by investigating, exploring or using a new tool. On the other side we learn about technology by using a tool in depth through troubleshooting and deeper investigation. This means that we need to overcome fear, time, unknown purpose and access of tools to be able to begin to learn technology. This also means we need to have a few basic problem solving tools under our belt or in our toolbox for moving through the technology learning process smoothly.

Wikipedia has a great general article about problem solving and highlights several tools for solving problems, including: abstraction, analogy, brainstorming, divide and conquer, hypothesis testing, lateral thinking, means-ends analysis, Method of focal objects, Morphological analysis, Reduction, Research, Root, cause analysis, Trial-and-error. The most commonly used methods are hypothesis testing, trial and error, means-end analysis, research and reduction, but any of the methods are used. In addition, the issues that are being solved can sometimes dictate the tool used to solve the problem.

Thus is the purpose of the Troubleshooting Flowchart. The flowchart for the ITLP course is to be used by the participants to help them create a go-to-process for evaluating and resolving a problem consistently. For some it will also help to even define the problem. For example I am unable to make a digital movie. Is that because I do not have the tools, the skills, or the time to learn the skills and tools?  Or I am afraid I might break or damage the technology and so I am unable. The flowchart is to be created, used and referenced while implementing your ITLP to help you move past the issues and problem.

Thus the sample Flowchart gives you the commonly encountered problems that prevent teachers from implementing or using technology. These do not have to be used, but are a mere starting point to help you resolve the issues you most commonly encounter.

Here are some additional helping points:
1. Language: Begin by asking the right questions with the right vocabulary.

  • What do you want to use or need the web tool for?

  • What part of the tool is the problem?

  • Where, when or how does the error or issue occur?

  • What words are associated with the tool or problem?

2. Support: Specifically identify your sources of support that you can learn from.

  • We learn from a peer

  • We learn from attending or participating in training, both real time and online asynchronous.

  • We learn from exploring or playing with the tools.

  • We learn from reading manuals.

  • We learn from searching the Internet.

  • We learn from videos.

  • We learn from pictures.

  • We learn from audio/ podcasts.

  • We learn from peers online through Discussion Boards, blogs, chats etc.

3. Discovery: Identify processes and steps for learning new tools and technology.

  • Identify technology persons that share and teach about new tools on a regular basis.

  • Identify online communities that provide discussion boards, webinars or blogs about new technologies emerging.

  • Identify commercials, television programs, webisodes or podcasts that provide regular technology tool evaluations.

  • Identify RSS feeds that evaluate and identify technology.

  • Join Twitter and Facebook and learn to follow groups or key persons that share new and unique tools.


Do you have other ways you solve problems? Comment below.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for putting this additional information together. We all encounter problems and it is beneficial to clarify some ways to tackle problems as they occur.
    I have related solving tech issues to fixing my constantly broken equipment. Snow-go's, 4 wheelers, chainsaws, outboards the list goes on and on. I am notoriously hard on things and seem to breaking equipment often. I was not blessed enough to have a mechanics degree and we have no mechanic in the bush. Solution is to learn how to fix equipment yourself. For the last decade in the bush I have used the same resources to answer problems with machines as I would to answers to tech questions. When I looked at it in this light it made more sense.