Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How to turn Frustration into Action: Search, Blog, Reflect, Repeat

One of the primary skills that we are trying teach as part of the MyGLife project, is to express yourself online. There are times when we all encounter frustration with our activities, including working with technology. If you don't have a lot of experience with using software or hardware then you might allow smaller obstacles to create a lot of frustration for you. In my early visits to our schools, I have had both students and educators tell me that they are frustrated about something on the MyGLife platform. Maybe it was the software installation, maybe it was the assignment, maybe it was the way the wiki platform makes you spell all the words in your file correctly. :)

Frustration happens. What do you do?

Old School Approach:
Wait for someone else to come and show us how to fix the problem or worse actually fix the problem for us. (Worse of course because next time you will need them to fix the problem again... the whole "teach them to fish for life thingy.")

New School Approach:
A new strategy to address this issue, we might even call it a 21st Century Strategy because we like buzz words, might be Search, Blog, Reflect, and Repeat.


If you have spent anytime at all on the web, you have learned this first step. GOOGLE IT! Right? Go on the web and look it up. Here at MyGLife we also have the option to search our wiki or other schools wikis that might have encountered the exact same problem. You could also search their blogs, because they might have reflected on this same issue you are having. This takes a little time of course and isn't a guarantee. But you have a fairly good chance that you will find your answer.

This might be a new step for you. If you don't find the answer you are looking for by searching the web or the MyGLife platform, then you can blog about your frustration. Put it out there, let people know... I hear you saying, "But Lee blogging is for geeks and besides if I blog about my problems then everyone will know I am an incompetent (student/educator) when it comes to technology!" And of course the answer to that is get over it, you are engaged in an awesome program to build games based on Flash. You are not incompetent and by blogging about the problem you are trying to overcome, you just made yourself an "advanced user of technologies" and the fact is... blogging is easier then email, but don't tell anyone, we geeks like to make it sound impressive.

So what will happen when I blog about my frustrations? You have now provided an opportunity for a whole lot of really smart people to help you out. Try it.

So this next step is one that gets overlooked or forgotten. It would be incredibly powerful if we would all reflect on our activities and solutions after resolution or even if they don't get to resolution. Reflection is a powerful tool for learning and by reflecting through your blog, you empower those who follow your path a possible quicker road to resolution. It also important to understand that you don't have to be exact or even thorough, although it helps. Just get your thoughts and ideas out there. Make it part of the conversation.

Finally, repeat. Do it often. The more you implement this strategy, the more you will learn and others around you will learn.


cinwillis in Clay said...

Great things to think about. I want so much to learn our 21st century schools for the sake of my job, my son, and for my interests, etc.! Its just the thing to do. We can sit back and let the 21st century pass us by, or we can get on board. I choose to be progressive for my own sake!

cinwillis in Clay said...

I meant I want to learn 21st century skills, but 21st century schools could mean the same thing.

rebecca said...

Great post! Expresses what self-learning is all about...

Jenny Bardwell said...

Here's a question that I need some advice on: I made a [ banner with Flash], incorporating a HSTA graphic symbol. The symbol disintegrated a little when I incorporated it into the banner and resized it. How can I avoid this? Also, how do I make a link on this blog?
Thanks, Jenny

Lee Kraus said...

Hey. Thanks for the comments.

Jenny - when you say disintegrated do you mean that the quality of the image was reduced? If that is the case, then I suggest you be sure to edit your images in Photoshop or paint and have them as a high quality jpeg or png file. Then import them into Flash through the import mechanism. This should allow you to maintain the image quality in the Flash file.

I hope that helps.

Lee Kraus said...

Jenny - to make a link... add some html to your comment. Hyperlink

Look up how to make an html hyperlink with the anchor tag.

Ryan said...

This is a very good cycle, and one that I personally incorporate into my online lifestyle. However, I think there's a piece that you didn't quite touch on. And that's the fact that publishing something to the web forces you to think in a different way.

Many of us have tried to solve a problem on our own by trying something ridiculous. Something that you know won't work, but you tried it anyway. Now picture that same problem with two co-workers/friends sitting with you. I bet you wouldn't try that ridiculous solution because you'd be conscious of what those around you might say or think. Hence, you might think even clearer in order to prevent from feeling embarrassed of an ignorant solution.

Maybe you get that example, maybe you don't. But the point is, it's good to be conscious of the fact that others will be reading your stuff. That's a good problem to have. Because it forces you to really think through the problem, step-by-step, as you're typing it out. And believe me, it works. I've solved 100's of problems by drafting up a post. And once I solve the problem, I'll post my solution instead.

Next time you run into a problem and get frustrated, try writing about it. Even if you don't publish it, you'll begin to realize the power of this approach!

Lee Kraus said...

Great feedback Ryan. Thanks for the insight. That process of thinking through the problem/solution is a great skill. That is exactly what we want Globaloria to be about.

Jenny Bardwell said...

Thanks Lee on both accounts. I corrected my banner to showcase a higher quality graphic, plus I found out how to make a hyperlink on this blog. Check out the improved banner on my Project page.
It took some thinking in html language for me to finally understand how to make the link, but like your technique of SBRR, just takes practice. Perfect!

Lee Kraus said...

Great job. Your project page is looking really good. Way to be a good role model.