Today I'm presenting...a problem'

15th June 2007 at 01:00
I am not a technophobe. I don't collapse with panic whenever I'm asked to send an email attachment, and I didn't break out in a cold sweat when they wheeled interactive whiteboards in. I'm a bit of a techno fan. If there's one thing that genuinely thrives in the dungeon, aka my classroom, it is the glory of technology.

I am famed for my PowerPoint presentations, which combine sound effects, cartoons and live action video footage. Of course, there is nothing more pleasing to the budget lords than the sight of expensive school resources being exploited to their full potential.

So when the threat of a headteacher's lesson observation loomed over my head, I knew it was time to bring out the big guns. Who needs IMAX cinemas when you've created How Do Plants Grow? - the mother of all PowerPoints.

Let's just say it involved dancing flowerpots and a tiny bean shoot growing in front of our eyes.

"Get ready for something special today," I chirped to my pupils. "It's going to have the X factor." But alas, it turned out to have something more like the ex-factor.

Having laid out my lesson plan and set up my computer during morning break, I nipped out for a coffee and returned to find that the server had "gone down" - which seems to be the vague technological excuse for anything that goes wrong in microchip land.

After a bit of impatient left and right mouse clicking, and a futile attempt to restore normal function with the switch offswitch on trick, it was time for backup. In desperation, I clogged up the school intercom attempting to track down the technology technician, to be told by one of the cleaners: "He won't be in until Thursday." Great. Stranded with a duff computer and no plan B.

Poised and eager, the pupils sat waiting. The headteacher, in the corner with her notepad, smiled expectantly. Deep breaths. Count to 10.

"Just give me a moment," I whispered, pressing buttons and blushing. After several minutes of irritating pop-up message alerts, which might as well have said "you're a loser", the pupils became restless and I lost hope.

"There is no PowerPoint today, children. How about some good old fashioned brainstorming?" A message to the computer world: I was once your friend, but you have let me down. Bring back chalk and slate

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