It is inevitable. Computers crash, hard drives die and servers can fail spectacularly leaving their dependents (teachers and student in this case) gasping for our virtual breath. Today was one of those days when even plan b gave way to plan c and d!
In my Philosophy for Teens class, we turned our temporary 'web-less-ness' into some old school fun. For homework, the students had watched two short videos on the amazing Alice Sommer-Herz, a centagenarian who survived the Nazi camps and lived to share her love of music and inspiring wisdom in her book, "A Garden of Eden in Hell". They had also read Einstein's famous essay, "The World As I See It". In class, they worked on individual concept maps for each thinker (Sommer-Herz and Einstein). Then together they went up to the board and worked on a collaborative map. Normally, we would have done this activity with mindmeister but today it was paper, pencil and the whiteboard. It was, as they say, 'old school' but they thoroughly enjoyed standing up at the board and deciding together, what idea goes where and who writes what. I was pleased and somewhat surprised at how well the lesson went. To be sure, the visual representation of ideas and their connections is a powerful way to learn, done digitally or on the whiteboard.