We’ve all heard the stories of researchers recording an interview to later find out that the conversation was not saved or unusable because of poor quality. We know about people refusing to be recorded which makes an interview a writing marathon with the speed of speech. And to top it all up, we all know that technology is quite likely to let us down when we least expect it. Well, honestly, I never thought any of this would happen to me!!! I’ve always been extra organised, checking all my equipment and having a back up plan just in case and I suppose the fact that none of the above mentioned ever happened to me made me feel a bit over-confident, I was kind of invincible… Couldn’t be more wrong…
Here I am, happily doing observations at school and planning to take a small group of children out for a group discussion on transition. We had all the negotiations set about behaviour, turn taking and listening to each other, attention and good thinking. We established that I am going to record the conversation so that I later listen to it and know exactly what they have said.
Then it goes like that… I switch the recorder on and oh, surprise… the battery is dead! I can’t really materialise all the thoughts that went through my head in the next 5 seconds until I could fully assess the uncomfortable situation. I had to make a decision before the children go off chatting and lose focus so I acted quickly and bravely. I told them I would have to write down what they say and asked them what their role will be into this. I think this was a good approach as it made them think about the way they were going to talk – ‘We’ll have to speak one by one, Miss!’ and ‘We’ll give you time to write things down, Miss!’. Great bunch of children really, being so considerate about the difficulties I was going to experience in the next 30 minutes.
So we went on with the discussion as I didn’t want to postpone it for another time and I was actually very excited about it and the things that children had to say to me. I did manage to take quite a lot of notes but I deeply regret the fact that I didn’t check the state of my battery earlier in the morning… So I guess the lesson I had to learn the hard way was that technology fails us all sometimes and that’s when we least expect it. Next time I’ll be checking twice, I promise!