Press stuff and see what happens…

CC licensed photo shared by Flickr user Digitalnative

“What do I do now?”

“Just press stuff and see what happens.”

When I am working with adults, teens, or young children that call themselves novices at technology use, the biggest commonality I observe is their fear of making mistakes. I know what this is like because I feel the same way when someone pops the hood of a car, asks me to look at my interest rate, or when I need to iron a shirt.

One thing I always say is, “Just press stuff and see what happens.” For, unlike my stunningly complex minivan, mortgage, or favourite 100% cotton Italian shirt, it is nearly impossible to do much damage just by pressing buttons.

It’s when everyone starts pressing buttons and talking to each other about it that we are then able to stop talking about the tech we’re using and start talking about the learning we’re doing with it.



  1. Can I just say that is a daily occurrence in my class. And yes my entire desktop of folders disappeared one day to be found later in an obscure folder I did not create. However it did get me asking questions and also provided a great opportunity to chat with our IT consultant (who was also stumped for a while as to where the folders went). My other observation is if something stops working because too many buttons have been pressed, shut the computer off and pray that it will default back to its’ original settings when turned back on:)

  2. Hmmmm funny how you JUST posted this when I am currently freaking out with my new iTouch right now as I am syncing it…. and I just pressed something and it snyced with the wrong library. Ahhhh… did you write this because I’m asking too many questions?! Sorry again… ha ha! I’ll give you some good sprinting exercises! Haha

  3. Love it! When a teacher asks me for help with them something tech-related, I sit down at the computer and when they ask what I’m doing, I say “I don’t know, I’m just pushing buttons”.

  4. I love it. I’m always saying “ok, it’s time to go play when we are trying a new tool for the first time for a project”. Play time in a high school often takes students aback, but I think we need more tinkering time.

  5. I love this post Royan. You have so concisely summed up the direction we need to go with tech integration – adopting risk taking as a platform for learning, as well as moving away from the mind set that technology is separate from our instruction. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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