As someone who has worked a lot with providing technology workshops, there is one thing that is a guarantee; something will fail. It happens all of the time and can be extremely frustrating, yet it is just a part of the process. I have learned to be calm and patient, and try to figure out what I need to do to fix the problem. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Here is the one thing that we can’t do in that process. Give up.
A few years ago, I remember seeing the tool “Prezi” and looked at the “Learn Prezi In a Minute” video and totally disregarded it. I thought that I was comfortable enough with technology that if I could learn it in a minute, that I would be able to figure it out on my own easily without the tutorial. Two hours later, I was still struggling immensely. After that, I decided to go back, and one minute later, voila, I learned Prezi. It wasn’t the program that didn’t work, it was the user.
I think of this experience when I hear students say things like, “Math is stupid!” and just pack it in. Never have I heard a teacher say, “I can see why you are frustrated…probably a good idea to just not push any further.” No, what we do is we work with them, guide them through the process, and help them build resiliency in the process through their struggles. That is part of learning. Yet often, when something doesn’t work when we are using technology, I have seen adults just say, “well I am never doing that again” or something similar. What does that say about our mindset regarding learning? Yes it might be a struggle, but so are most subjects for students in schools. If they were easy, we wouldn’t teach them.
We shouldn’t grow out of learning so we have to make sure that we model a growth mindset to our students. Putting your hands up and throwing in the towel would not be acceptable for our students nor is it acceptable for us either.