[#leadershipday13] What if?

It’s Leadership Day at Dangerously Irrelevant! To celebrate the author has given a throw down:

On Thursday, August 15, 2013, blog about whatever you like related to effective school technology leadership: successes, challenges, reflections, needs, wants, resources, ideas, etc. Write a letter to the administrators in your area. Post a top ten list. Make a podcast or a video or a voice-narrated presentation. Highlight a local success or challenge. Recommend some readings. Create an app, game, or simulation. Draw a cartoon. Do an interview of a successful technology leader. Respond to some of the questions below or make up your own. If you participated in years past, post a follow-up reflection. Whatever strikes you. 

And, so.  Here. I. Am.

I want to start by asking you to take a minute and list all of the reasons you can’t use technology.  Every one.  List them all. Embrace your Negative Nancy and reach for the… not stars… but the pit of despair (bonus points if you know the movie). Indulge yourself. List them, celebrate them, bow down to them.

Now. Ask yourself a new question.

What if?
What if it scared you and you did it anyway?
What if you did it, failed, did it a new way, failed again, and learned exactly what not to do next time? What if you have no idea how to do it and have to ask someone?
What if it takes you an hour to do something your students can do in a minute?
What if you don’t know the answer and you allow your students to teach you?
What if they have to teach you more than once, you get frustrated, and they see that?
What if?  What would happen if all of that were true?

Many of us have heard or quoted the famous line, “What would you do if you could not fail?” most commonly attributed to Robert H. Schuller. In this age of technology and innovation in our schools on the starting line (first lap?) of the Common Core State Standards, I have started asking another question:
What’s the worst thing that could happen in you failed, and why don’t you try it out and see?

We learn from failure. We learn what not to do, what to do differently, what to do instead, how to work around things. We learn from mistakes much more powerfully than from successes, in some ways. I wrote and rewrote this line a few different times.  It’s risky because it can be taken out of context, but here goes:

Let’s embrace the possibility of failure in our learning and even in our teaching. Let’s make every mistake we can think of! Let’s fail right in front of everyone and celebrate the learning that happens.


Pick up a computer, a new device, an app or program you haven’t used and use it! Learn how with your students, with your teachers, by yourself behind the shed.  Struggle through it and learn something–anything. 

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