Seventy plus teachers and ancillary staff head to various computer rooms for Ultranet training. And thus it begins, entirely as expected. No one can access the Ultranet. But like dutiful children, we persist. No doubt, so do the other thousands of teachers across the state, trying to log onto the system at 9.05 this morning.
Eventually, IT guy gives us a twenty minute break for coffee and asks us to meet in the library for a bit of a lecture on the capabilities of the wonderful Ultranet. During the lecture, which is very hard to follow because we can't access the system, I - and everyone else illicitly checking their in-boxes - receive an Edumail message from DEECD IT support informing us that the Ultranet is not functioning. Hilarious.
Our collective inability to access Ultranet continues for the rest of the day.
IT guy informs me that as the organiser of the day, he'd been directed to forward both his plan for the day with a functioning Ultranet, and a contingency plan, should the system fail.
We all knew it would fail. The My School website crashed on launch day. Myki still isn't working properly.
In the messages from the IT department, reminding us throughout the day that the system wasn't functioning, we were directed, like children when it rains on sports day, to do some other busy work task that didn't rely on the Ultranet.
To borrow from the abbreviated textings of many of my students: LMFAO for much of the morning. But at 1.30 an email arrived from the IT service department telling us the Ultranet was now fully functioning and that we were invited to get on it and do our stuff.
That's when I became frustrated. Because initially I still couldn't get on it. And when I finally accessed my home page, I couldn't move from the home page onto any other site. Like a good girl though, I kept on trying until 3.45.
Meanwhile, our English department has a perfectly well functioning wikispace that already meets all our on line needs. In all the time I've been using it, wikispaces has never failed me. Nor have any one of loads of sites I frequently use that have millions of worldwide users.
But apart from today's Ultranet fiasco, I'm not thrilled with the Ultranet. As head of my department, I've already done some training and have had a play on the site at home. I find it slow and hard to negotiate. When I started using Facebook, I found it easy to navigate. Same with Blogger. All the help readily at hand; really simple to use. So what's the story with the Ultranet, given all the monetary resources that have been thrown at it??
On the positive side, had we not had our abortive Ultranet training day, I would have had a full teaching day, followed by a meeting. And the catered lunch was good. Otherwise, it was an unforgivable waste of time, affecting every state school teacher, and every family with children in state schools. Pretty disgusting all up.