When Did “Fail” Become a Four-Letter Word?

This is my opinion and a little stray from my normal technology blogs!  You may disagree, but I think most teachers will agree!  I wish more parents of students would read this and think about it!  Here we go…

I think most of my teacher friends and parents out there have seen our education system change a bunch since we were a student in the classroom.  We didn’t have all this technology at our figure tips and the world wasn’t so ever-changing or fast!

When I ask my students to “try” something new, they say “But, I have never done this before!  What if I get it wrong?” or they are “Scared” to even try it because they may fail or do it wrong.  This is what our education system has created lately – a student who must have multiple choices (A, B, C, or D)!  If an open-ended question or scenario is given with little details, they are stumped or tell themselves “This is too hard!”  Many won’t even try – unless they are bribed or rewarded with something.  Whatever happened to getting the right answer(s) or working hard or learning from your failures?  We have really thwarted creativity and critical thinking skills…and we wonder why our country is falling behind other countries in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) areas.  In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons why other cultures and countries have passed us by.

Also, I feel that some students learn at an early age that “Failing” is bad.  I am not really talking about their report card, but more about learning from your failures.  We need to change this is our classrooms and teach our students or children that:


Failing is the First Attempt In Learning! 

I try to tell my students about Thomas Edison – the inventor of the light bulb.  I ask them what he did and a few students say he was an inventor of the light bulb, and I ask them if he got it right the first time?  The majority of my students know he didn’t, and then I ask how many times he did his experiment (great Scientific Method introduction)?  I will get the answers 10, 100, 500, etc.  Do you know the answer?

He failed about 111,000+ times before he got it right!!!  How many of us would keep trying like that and learn the power of perseverance?  I know I wouldn’t have went that far, but I know that I can use the power of technology, experts, friends, etc. to help me learn anything.  We need to teach our students and kids how to fail and steer them in the right direction – knowing how and where to find the answer is the key!  I think that was my “real life” lesson I took from college, along with starting something and finishing it.

I really hope parents and teachers let their kids know that we learn from our failures.  We can’t tell our kids, “No that’s wrong!” or “Let me do that for you.”  If we continue enabling them, they will never be able to think for themselves and expect to have everything laid out for them – life isn’t always an A, B, C, or D test, sometimes “Life Happens” and we need to adapt and learn on our own.

Let me step of my soapbox…

I have wanted to type this for a while, but I just hadn’t felt the need to until my wife showed me the image above about what “Fail” really means!  Thanks wife!


Gamestar Mechanic


Gamestar Mechanic is simply a site for students to play, design, and share games.

This site is mainly geared toward 4th – 9th grade, but can be used for younger and older students!  You can register and start your students playing and designing their own games for FREE – or upgrade for $2 a student to full version.  My plan is to use this as an after school club or activity.  I registered and signed up tonight – Then, I started playing the games and was hooked!

The concept of this site is pretty simple – students will learn how to design and create video games.  Designing games builds:

  • Systems Thinking,
  • 21st Century Skills,
  • Creative Problem Solving,
  • Art and Aesthetics,
  • Writing and Storytelling,
  • and creates a motivation for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning.

This is from the “Getting Started with Gamestar Mechanic” PDF –

What Skills are Learned in Gamestar Mechanic?

Systems-Thinking: Students design and analyze dynamic systems, a characteristic activity in both the media and in science today.

Interdisciplinary Thinking: Students solve problems that require them to seek out and synthesize knowledge from different domains.They become intelligent and resourceful as they learn how to find and use information in meaningful ways.

User-Centered Design: Students act as socio-technical engineers, thinking about how people interact with systems and how systems shape both competitive and collaborative social interaction.-

Specialist Language: Students learn to use complex technical linguistic and symbolic elements from a variety of domains, at a variety of different levels, for a variety of different purposes.

Meta-Level Reflection: Students learn to explicate and defend their ideas, describe issues and interactions at a meta-level, create and test hypotheses, and reflect on the impact of their solutions on others.

Check out this very cool and fun way to have students learn the basics of video game design and computer programming – I mean what student doesn’t like or play video games?