Is There Something Else That Doesn’t Work?

Just about anyone who stumbles by this space understands that training involving any kind of technology can sometimes go wrong.

When you are presenting in an unfamiliar location using someone else’s equipment, things can go way beyond wrong.

That was the setting for yesterday afternoon.

My colleague and I were asked to do an introductory PowerPoint session for a group of arts teachers in a workshop at the Kennedy Center. (Full disclosure: Karen is the PowerPoint expert. I was the extra set of hands in the room.)

Originally, we planned to have the participants find and download some Creative Commons licensed pictures from flickr to use during the session. But we were told that there probably wouldn’t be any internet access.

Ok, no problem. We pulled down a nice assortment of images and burned them to CD. Nice try, but the machines in the lab had no CD drives.

No problem, we’ll just move the content to a USB drive and copy it to each hard drive.

Sorry, the USB ports are locked.

Ok, so we use whatever images we can find on the machines.

Except that the student logins on the machines in the lab have expired and their IT group needs some kind of paperwork approval to create new ones. And that can’t be done in the next 20 minutes.Kc-Lab2

As we contemplate a boring three hour demonstration (in a converted storage room off the loading dock), one of the organizers mentioned that all of the people in the session have brought a laptop to the workshop.

Wonderful! Except that they are half Macs and half PCs with a total of five different versions of PowerPoint.

In the end, however, we had a great session. The participants were all enthusiastic, eager to learn and more than willing to experiment.

The tight space and multiple interfaces (I’m beginning to hate Office 2007!) made things a little difficult, but I think everyone, including the exhausted presenters, had a great time.

And after seeing all the tech road blocks the people working at KC have to put up with, I promise not to say any bad things about the IT policies in our overly large school district. For at least a week. :-)

technology, training, powerpoint, kennedy center