When technology goes bad…..

Well….I promised I’d stop responding to the question: "Can technology enhance learning?" – however, I find myself reviewing the issue again.

Imagine this scene: A synchronous event using web conferencing software – a panel of speakers comprised of a few locals (scattered around Australia) and an international keynote. A large room, all set for an additional f2f networking event to follow the web conference – 20 or so people present – including 2 of the panel, and the MC….
And then….after 4 days of IT support, and long a negotiated deal to open the firewalls (both ways) to allow the selected software through…nothing….absolutely nothing…we weren’t go anywhere online ….
As the local host of the event (and one of the panel speakers) I was waiting for the ground to open up and I could just disappear – but it didn’t.
15 minutes into the start of the 1 hour event we hear from the local Tafe college (right out the back of our venue) that they have finally managed to connect!!! Yeah – everyone – let’s move it – fast!!!! So we grab a few things and make a dash to the other venue……
Unbelievable……frustrating, damn annoying and just put the whole focus of the event on the technology and not on what the speakers had to say or the purpose of the event….

So – can technology enhance learning?
In this instance – NO – not when the technology dominates the experience!
Take home message: I’m not offering to host another event unless I’m organising it and using software I can rely on! No names will be mentioned…..  😦