We have heard it time and again…”Failure is not an option.” I would like to argue that point for a bit. Many see failure as a bad thing. In my opinion, failure is only bad if you stop trying after you’ve failed.
Failure has ultimately led to some of the greatest discoveries and inventions our world has ever encountered. Failing can be a good thing if you learn from it and apply that knowledge to try again. In many cases you can learn more from failure than you can from success.
Your teachers and students will become much more successful if they know it is OK to fail. A culture must be created in the classrooms, and in the schools as a whole, where students are comfortable with trying something new and knowing that if they are not successful they are still learning. I am not saying we need to celebrate failure, but we can still welcome it and learn from it. Celebrate what was discovered in the attempt. Failing should not discourage you…it should motivate you to try again, armed with the knowledge you took away from your last attempt.
As teachers and administrators, do not be afraid to fail in front of your audience and own up to it…learn from it. There is a fear that failing in front of others will cause you to lose some of the respect we work so hard to earn. If you are pushing the envelope trying something new, and if you have built a solid relationship with your group, you will gain respect with the effort and the honesty. That’s a key to leadership at any level.
Many districts are starting to open their filters a bit and YouTube is starting to find its way in. I am all for this. YouTube gives you many amazing, educational videos right at your fingertips. It also gives you a place to share what you and your students are doing in your classroom with the world.
An issue you can sometimes run into, however, is all the advertisements that are posted along the right side of the screen. You also have to contend with other video “recommendations” that pop up. You can make the video full screen, but those few seconds it takes can in some cases let your students see more than you care to admit.
There are a couple of free sites that help alleviate you of this issue. Both SafeShare.TV and ViewPure.com allow you to watch YouTube videos with nothing but a blank screen surrounding the video. All it takes is a little preparation ahead of time on your part.
- First, find the video you wish to use from YouTube and copy its URL.
- Open either SafeShare or ViewPure and copy the link into the field.
- Click to create the link.
A link will either be provided to you or a new window will open up with your YouTube video on a blank canvas. Simply copy and paste the link where you need it or create a shortcut to the video on your desktop. Now when you or your students click to watch the video, the video is all you get!
For those of you who do not know, Remind 101 is an amazing, free service that allows you to send out messages through text to groups of people, such as your class, without using your actual phone number. You can send messages instantly or schedule them to be delivered at a later date and time, all from the website or their app.
Remind 101 is a one way conversation Your end users can only receive messages…they cannot reply to your message. It is very simple to use and a great resource for you and your class. Learn more about it from an earlier post here. What percentage of your students or parents do not have texting capability in this day and age? If you are not taking advantage of this service, you are missing out.
The latest update to Remind 101 allows you to send to small groups instead of your entire class. The smallest number of people you can send to is three. That is to keep you from one on one conversations that should most likely not be happening through this type of media.
This option is great for group projects or after school activities where only a handful of people need to receive your reminder, as well as many other situations you will run across throughout the year. Learn more about this update and how to use it on the Remind 101 Blog. A short video showing you how the new feature works is included in their post.
Be sure to follow @remind101 via Twitter for new updates and information.
During TCEA this week one thing is certainly becoming more and more clear to me. For me, this week has not been about learning something new nearly as much as it has been about making connections.
I am lucky to work in a district that by educational technology standards is ahead of the game. I cannot say that I have been wowed by any “next big thing”, nor have I been overwhelmed with new knowledge. I certainly have come across some great new ways to incorporate our existing technology. I have added some tips to help teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms. The sessions themselves do not carry the same awe-inspiring weight they once did, however. The team I work with and my PLN do a great job of keeping me up-to-date and inspired.
By far, the most valuable things taken away from this week are the connections I make with other educators. As much as I get from Twitter and the rest of social media, there is still nothing quite like a face to face meeting. Making that personal connection with others makes a difference. It recharges me and allows me to refocus on the big picture of what my job, my passion, is.
I need to make sure that I am considering that when working with my own family of teachers. I can get distracted with all the other tasks and too quickly resort to a quick email, hand-out, or video to solve a problem. Even though these mthods can often quickly solve a problem, the personal connections we make is what builds and inspires those around us. Make a connection…be someone’s inspiration!
I am at TCEA in Austin, TX this week. Excited to present the “Get Off My iPad” session with Mandy Bryan on Wednesday at 9:15, Room 19A! If you are here, come by and join us. If you can’t make it…our presentation can be found on the Presentation page of my blog.
The rest of the week I am looking for new ideas or ways to improve what we are already doing. I will be tweeting all week on what I am learning. Follow me: @pwagnerlcisd if you are not already. You can also follow the hashtag for the event: #tcea14.
I am most looking forward to connecting with all my PLN friends for some face to face time instead of text to text! I hope to see many of you there so we can continue learning together and from each other.