‘Ask 3 then Me’ is a strategy often used by Primary / Elementary teachers to encourage students to trust their own judgement and to be more self- reliance when working independently. When facing a problem, students are required to ask three of their classmates before asking the teacher.
We ask our students to use this strategy but forget to employ such sanity savers as learners in a technological situation.
Think about ways to work smarter. Whether you engage in technology in the classroom, staff workroom or enrolled in an online course, this strategy will come in handy for you too. In a school environment you are surrounded by so many knowledgeable people and online support.
As an online mentor for educators in the Lismore Diocese in NSW, I hear the frustration, embarrassment and doubt from participants as they struggle with the initial online instruction. So many times I read lines like “I feel out of my comfort zone”, “totally overwhelmed” and “I feel lost”. My contact information and virtual office hours (for support) are well published and participants know I am happy to help outside these hours when they are totally frustrated. I also encourage them to seek answers through other channels first. Here is my twist on the original strategy:
ASK 3 OF THESE THEN ME
•Post your questions to the appropriate discussion boards. It is surprising just how many others not only share your issue but have solutions that might work for you as well. Other mentors and technicians regularly check these online thread to offer support when necessary
•Ask ‘Aunty Google’! She is a virtual wiz when it comes to the really tricky stuff. Just type in your question EG ‘how to add an image to post in Edublogs’ and you will be directed to a list of helpful weblinks for Edublogs. What do you think your online mentor is doing when you ask your tricky question? Trust me … we are Google-ing it!
•Check out YouTube. If you ask the same question as above but add the words ‘video tutorial’ you will be directed to YouTube where a video tutorial can take you through the process step by step.
SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS (Mia Hamm)
Mia Hamm is a retired American soccer player b. 1972 with a club foot and as a toddler she wore corrective shoes. During her career, she scored more international goals than any other player (male or female) in the history of US soccer. Hamm has authored ‘Go for Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning Soccer and Life’. I think we can safely say Mia knew a lot about building on her success.
There’s no doubt about it – when it all starts falling into place you tend to become even more successful. Because you are following the instructions and doing the right things you are rewarded with more success, you become more confident and more optimistic about what lays ahead in your course.
How do you reach that level of comfort? Treat yourself as gently as you would any learner in your classroom!
- Print out the instructions and sit them beside your mouse for instant referral. Add notes.
- Trust your own judgement
- Employ my ‘Ask 3 of these then Me’ strategy
- Regard failure as part of any new experience. As long as learning takes place then it is a valuable step to your learning curve
- Cherish your successful moments. Build on them. Celebrate them.
20 MINUTE RULE
When all else fails apply my sanity saver tip that I call the ’20 minute rule’. If after 20 minutes on your computer you have not succeeded in cracking your technical, software or hardware problem – then walk away. Get a cuppa or sit in the sun or do a household chore.
When you return to your computer, that little ‘mental break’ may just give you a tiny spark of inspiration from something you remember reading or enable you to return refreshed and stretched to try to attack that same problem for another 20 mins. If you are still unsuccessful then you must convince yourself that it simply is not just ‘you’ at fault. Ask help from a friend, Google, discussion / support forums or your online mentor.
It’s amazing the number of issues I solve when hanging out the washing!
Images from http://www.openclipart.org
Poster ‘Ask 3 of these then Me’ by Lesleigh Altmann