I had assigned my students an online reading which used the power of the web to present three different primary sources on the same event, side by side.

I tried to have a conversation about how hypermedia could change how we view history, but all I got back were complaints about technical difficulties—small font, browser crash, slow, etc. (Luckily, when I brought it up in class, it worked perfectly for me, making it not my fault. Plus I had warned them to test it out before the last minute). I turned it into a teaching moment—everyone using a computer should have multiple browsers available to try (the Internet Explorer student had the worst problems). Just part of digital literacy.

But a more legitimate complaint was “difficult to go back to and skim for relevant things to write the essay on” and along those lines but less legitimate “have to copy and paste a lot to take notes on” (WTF? c&p is difficult?)

Largely to prove C&P worked perfectly fine, I started assembling the online reading into a web document to use in the future, so that I didn’t have to hear any more technical complaints. My students were doing role-play, so I kept messing with it while they interacted.

I was totally able to copy and paste and categorize while at the same time listening to them, and leaping in with prompts.

But when we got to the end of the class, I was totally unable to lecture in response to a question while also handing back graded essays to students. I really tried, but it just did not work.

It was interesting to see what two things I could do at the same time.

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