Learning By Doing

Today’s Contributor: Steven Morris

Steven Morris is in his third year as a Campus Innovation Coach at Brooke Elementary.  He facilitates the STEAM activities that occur on campus, and he is their head coach for their award-winning robotics team.


Campus Innovation Coaches have to take the lead in trying out new technology for the classroom. Essentially, we are the guinea pigs of our campus. This definitely has its benefits in that we are the first to find that cool new tool that could possibly be the next “big” thing.

However, there are times where trying new technological tools can have its downfalls. One of the major taboos for teachers is failure. We do not want to fail in front of our students because for the most part, it seems, failing in front of our students means that we are not that superhuman or know-it-all teacher that the students see us as. Who would want to be that teacher whose students look at and think they would not learn or enjoy their class because of all the the “mistakes” and “errors” that teacher has been through in front of their students? Yeah, I didn’t think so.


Times have changed, and just like everything around us, culture changes with it. I believe now is the time we can lead a change in the culture of our classrooms. Our classrooms need to be a safe place where failure, for everyone, is a learning tool that we can use to our advantage. How does using technology in your lessons tie into this change in culture? Using a variety of technological tools in your classroom creates an environment that feels new, fresh, and fun, but also requires time to set up and learn. Even with having a set game plan on how things should work while using the new tool, there is always a chance something may not work. The Universe always has its ways… Here is where the majority of teachers say the worst nightmare is – a classroom where everything and anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Now this is totally true, that is a pretty scary thing; like I said, no one wants to like they do not know what they are doing in front of their students or even other teachers, but students seeing you fail is one of the most amazing things every because it is also one of the best teaching moments.

Our students have most likely seen others fail, and when they do, what do you think the reaction of those people are? Probably not a good one. If you are in the middle of failing at something in front of your students, take the time to stay calm and tinker with it. Students will finally see what a true role model you are. They will finally understand that failure is a way to learn how to get past those pesky issues and achieve what you set out to do. Our students will learn that even in failure, you are still succeeding. 



  1. Totally agree! I think this is a great way to teach/remind of a growth mindset in our classrooms and go the extra step by modeling some self talk and pointing out what went wrong when things don’t go as planned. We never stop learning– even as adults! Its OK to make mistakes!

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