I’m a Failure

When it comes to technology, I’m a failure1. It’s true. And I’m okay with that. In fact, I’m proud of it.

Many people assume that because I work with technology on a daily basis, that I know everything about everything. I don’t. Not even close2.

So if you ask me, “How do I use this new app?” the answer is probably going to be, “I have no idea, but let’s find out.” And I will give it a try, and probably fail, so I’ll try again and again, until I figure it out (or tell you that the app stinks and you should find another one – hey, not all failures are the user’s fault3).

Look, I get it. You’re a teacher, the master of your domain. You stand in front of your class each day, 100% certain that you know more about your subject than any of the students in front of you. But when it comes to technology, that confidence evaporates. You wonder what the kids will think if4 you try to use technology and it fails — or you do.

I will tell you this: I stand in front of my class each day, 100% certain that I know more about my subject than any of the students in front of me. And yet I fail on a daily basis in front of my students. I say, “I don’t know” an awful lot. They look to me for the answers, and I scratch my head.

I’m certain many of you, if not most of you, have heard me say that: I don’t know5.

I don’t say it because I enjoy looking ignorant. I don’t say it to annoy you6. I say it because I really, truly don’t know. But I am absolutely willing to try to figure it out.

For me, failure isn’t an option; it’s a requirement. I expect each student in my class to try things, and fail. I know that they have learned more from failure and the successive self-discovery and revelation that follows than from any lecture I’ve given or PowerPoint I’ve shown. I’m just there to guide them, to steer them in the right direction before they get too far off course and take a one-way trip to Frustrationville7.

So please, do me a favor: go forth and fail. Fail spectacularly, fail publically, fail in small ways, fail in private. Just fail. And then succeed.

Don’t forget to check out the accompanying infographic:  http://goo.gl/wEZLt7     Join me next week, as I have a gift for everyone!


1 I saw you nodding your head.
2 You can stop nodding your head now.
3 99% isn’t “all”
4 When.
5 How many times have I said it? I don’t know.
6 Usually.
7 The traffic there is terrible.

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