Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mistakes are Wonderful Opportunities to Learn

If mistakes are wonderful opportunities to learn, then why do we resist them so much as adults? Could it be in part because we no longer see ourselves as learners? Perhaps. We need to accept and embrace our mistakes regardless of our age, especially when it comes to integrating technology. We do a disservice to our students and rob them of an authentic learning experience, both in our households and in our classrooms, when we don't model what recovering and learning from a mistake looks like.

As we get older, we want to be the experts, the ones who have their act together, but this can limit us and hold us back from helping others (and ourselves) learn. Learning in the 21st century, when things change so quickly, means living in a time of constant innovation. Innovation comes from taking risks. Taking risks means making mistakes. Learning new technology requires a risk, a risk of letting the world know that you don't know it all. Embrace that you know how to learn and a part of that knowing is accepting that mistakes will be made. It is important for us to model that in our classroom, to let our students to see us attempt something new and innovative. What better preparation can we give our students than to take a risk with an innovation and see how it works, gather information, reflect on how it went, and take action by making different decisions. That means being among your students making mistakes. It also gives them an opportunity to be problem-solvers, because students are always willing to help us along the way, especially when it comes to using technology.

Yes, not only are mistakes wonderful opportunities to learn, but they are wonderful opportunities to teach.