No Internet, No Problem: 3 Ways to Teach Without the Internet

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No Internet, No Problem: 3 Ways to Teach Without the Internet

by Beth K. Johnson

“The Internet is down” is a phrase that causes plenty of drama, especially in classrooms that embrace web-based learning. Unfortunately, many schools face terrible infrastructures that don’t provide consistent online connections.

When problems arise, some teachers are quick to shrug and say: “The Internet doesn’t work; we can’t use technology.” We sometimes forget everything a computer can do without the use of the Internet.

When the Internet fails, consider forging ahead with technology, with a little different approach. Instead of pushing the computers and devices aside, embrace what can be done with these wonderful tools in spite of terrible connections. Let’s use technology without the Internet!

But how? What in the world can a computer/laptop/tablet do without the Internet? Let’s explore some ideas.

3 ways to teach without the Internet

1-Teach keyboarding. The majority of devices we have in schools or that students bring have some type of application that requires typing. Whether it’s Word, Notepad, or Notes on an iPad, all of these function without an Internet connection. Simple typing practice is an excellent way to teach a valuable technology skill, when the Internet is down. Ask students to answer class-related questions or to share their opinions on a topic of their choosing. Emphasize proper keyboarding skills throughout the activity. Soon, they’ll forget they’re learning without the Internet.

2-Teach reading. Many of the textbooks that districts buy now come with a downloadable digital format. Even if your district uses an online textbook only, many offer downloadable options that you can put on a device and read without the Internet. Using downloadable textbooks may require a little prep work from a teacher or tech department to set up when the Internet is working, but it’s worth it to teach students the value of reading digitally–something they’ll likely do forever.

3-Get creative. Learning today isn’t just about the content anymore; it’s about learning skills for the future. Being creative has become a staple in Project Based Learning. Every device out there has built in creative applications. Apps like Paint and Photo Booth can give students a chance to get creative without the Internet. They can draw, paint, take pictures, learn colors, play with lighting, and create brief videos. All with a click of a button or a drag of a mouse, and all without the Internet. Extend this activity by inviting students to write about their creativity or pass the devices around so they can view and discuss their peers’ work.

Any of these can turn into amazing learning opportunities, so don’t be frightened the next time a student shouts, “The Internet is down.” Smile and say, “No Internet? No problem!”

You won’t be sorry, and your students will thank you later.

Beth K. Johnson is a former 8th grade teacher, who coaches teachers to use technology in their classrooms every day for an Oklahoma school district. Follow Beth on Twitter: @bethiejq

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Mark Barnes is the Founder of Times 10 Publications, which produces the popular Hack Learning Series, The uNseries, and other books from some of education's most reputable teachers and leaders. Barnes presents internationally on assessment, connected education, and Hack Learning. Connect with @markbarnes19 on Twitter.

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