I gave up on Instructional Technology my last year of grad school.

My “smart classroom” had one of those fancy document camera projectors—where you just flop a book on the screen and it projects? no need to make transparencies or handout photocopies. This was a while back, when those things were very expensive and not so common—it was my very first lecture course.

At one point during the semester, I decided to try the document camera. Turned it on, put the book on, nothing happened.

I puzzled. Futzed with it for a while. Finally, a student said, “You know, I don’t think it’s hooked up.” We pulled some cords and realized that indeed, they didn’t go anywhere.

I called the IT people. They told me the document camera wasn’t set up because they didn’t have the budget to buy a table that could sit in the necessary location for the camera to project onto the screen.

For the lack of a table, this expensive piece of equipment sat unused.

I’ve been exceedingly suspicious of all instructional technology promises since.