The goal: To encourage students to take intellectual risks; to live with the vulnerability of not knowing something in order to learn from the people around them.

The reason: STEAM [read: life] is transformed when we come to appreciate the people around us and the diversity of their interests, skills, and experiences. When the vulnerability of learning is no longer terrifying, the opportunities we have to learn from each other come into focus as the precious resources they are.

The following pictures document my thought process in trying to make this goal a reality in my classroom.

v1.0 – Redefine failure

How can we soften the sharp edge of that vulnerability? Here is one way I won’t do it:


I understand the goal of redefining failure, but I worry that this tagline (or the “Fail early. Fail often.” mantra) are sometimes accepted, dumped into classrooms, and not examined. I worry that these taglines are missing the point and instead are at risk of fetishizing failure.*

v2.0 – Poke fun

So maybe we can poke fun at failure instead of celebrate it. Would that de-stigmatize it? What if we can find a playful way to re-create the Twitter fail whale with our misguided attempts and failures?


No, I don’t think that’s good enough. Instead of redefining failure or poking fun at it, I think I would rather make it irrelevant. Continue reading at →

The fail whale, reimagined

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