Slice of Life: Maybe You Were Un-Googled, Too

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We write on Tuesdays about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

At first, I thought I was alone. Then I realized, nope, it’s not just me. It’s everyone.

Google had crashed down and with an hour until students, I sat there, at table, on our first day back into a Remote Learning status, wondering how I could reach kids if they didn’t have access to Gmail and Google Classroom. We still had Zoom, I figured, but kids follow the links and codes they keep in email and in Classroom.

Huh. I was stumped.

Luckily, we start our day a bit later in the mornings than other schools as we are an elementary building and so by the time we were getting near the start of the day, Google had been kicked back to life by some engineers somewhere. There were a few glitches (an activity I had planned using Google’s Jamboard got funky on us at one point and we had to abandon it).

I’ve written many times of our reliance (all of us) on single platforms, and how precarious that can be, and yesterday’s outage at Google showcased just how roped in we are into its many educational applications, and how school can come to a screeching halt if it falls apart (a number of high schools in our area went to a two-hour remote delay because of the Google problem).

I don’t have any solutions, and when we talked about it at our staff meeting, it seemed as if no one else did either, other than to shrug it off as another technology hurdle that Google seemed to fix quickly enough. Maybe so. But I’m not so sure, although I have been impressed that Zoom and Google and other educational platforms have remained mostly standing and stable with all of the push to online learning across the country and world.

Yesterday, though, it felt like a reminder of how delicate the tower is, and how one pin, pulled, might make the entire system collapse on us. And then what?

Peace (pushing the reboot button),

  1. I was running yesterday and I could bits and pieces of conversations about Google crashing. I completely agree with you – Google, Amazon, Apple, FB, Twitter … it feels strange to all be dependent on these things. I am glad it all worked out … but a Google Delay who would have ever thought! Be well.

  2. We’ve been through this a few times with Schoology, but had Google as a backup to email assignments. One could always hope that students at least had a book nearby to read as an expectation for when single-platform outages occur. It is precarious, indeed. I find myself at a loss for what to do when it happens; we’ve been pivoting so much that having to re-prioritize almost paralyzes me on some days.

  3. I missed the whole outage (time zones), but afterward had the same thoughts- it is so hard to be reliant on technology in general, but one platform in particular, even harder!

  4. You raise an important point, Kevin, about the overreliance on one platform. We’ve been through this here too. It’s frustrating when those outages occur. Thankfully, most of remote instruction has been smooth sailing.

    Here’s to more drama-free tech days.

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