Solving a tech problem

A colleague of mine came to me with his iPad2. Apparently his kids had deleted Safari, the browser, and it’s inconvenient to have a computer that you can’t check the internet on, these days.

I plugged the iPad into his computer. But because he set it up and uses it wirelessly, I couldn’t simply back it up from his iTunes and hard drive.  So I plugged it into my computer.  Now my choices were, “make it a new iPad2” or “back up from your own iPad.” Neither of these was an ideal option.

So I used Google. “How to restore Safari on an iPad 2”. Instantly I found a number of websites that offered help.  And the first option, a help website running off of blogspot.com, held the solution to the problem.  In the “settings” app, I went into ‘restrictions’ and unrestricted the use of Safari. Whereupon the app re-appeared on the iPad2’s desktop.

This was not a spectacularly difficult problem to solve… provided one had a computer and an internet connection.  Without a manual, and without access to Google, though, it would have been quite difficult.  What made it even more difficult, though, was the individual user’s lack of knowledge about his own device.  He knew how to use the software, but had no idea how to reconfigure his device.  Neither did I, to be fair, until I looked it up.

We live in a world in which it’s possible to look up quite a lot.  How do we, as teachers, go about training kids to ask questions that can’t be looked up, but require a number of complex look-up operations in a row? And how do we as teachers go about training kids to ask questions of Google that Google can answer… if you ask the right question.

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