Technical Difficulties

It has certainly been an enlightening and humbling week for me. As a Digital Native, I enter into new technological situations with a lot of confidence; one of the main reasons I’m taking this online course is because I thought I would have “no problem” navigating the technical aspects of it. Well, I was wrong.

Let me start with the custom search engine. Creating the search engine was easy enough; I made mine Walt Whitman oriented, keeping in mind a project in which students would work in small groups to present different kinds of research about the same Whitman poem (historical context, biographical context, references within the poem, and literary theory). I entered in a bunch of reputable sites and created my search engine– this went smoothly. Once finished, I received this code to copy and paste to create my custom search bar:

(function() {
var cx = ‘017423852869033909725:nn_xy0-cvtu’;
var gcse = document.createElement(‘script’); gcse.type = ‘text/javascript’;
gcse.async = true;
gcse.src = (document.location.protocol == ‘https:’ ? ‘https:’ : ‘http:’) +
‘//’ + cx;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(gcse, s);

As you can see, I have no idea how this works or if this code even works within a blog. I made a couple attempts using different browsers with no avail. After a few frustrating trials, I default to what I know how to do, which is create a link: My custom search engine, take 2.

And THEN I tried to put this link into my Google site professional portfolio. Again, there was much trial and error. At first, I tried to hyperlink one of the X’s in the standards matrix, and I didn’t have much luck with that. Instead I created a subpage at the bottom, which looks like this:

Standards Matrix - Allison Crerie_1360424667146





After feeling accomplished for a moment, when I clicked on this link to see my finished product I see this:

Custom Search Engine - Allison Crerie_1360424888271

Needless to say, I decided to walk away from my computer at this time. Although now that I’m revisiting it, I think I may see what went wrong. An important part of learning is making mistakes, after all.

Speaking of making mistakes, now let me tell you about my Scratch projects. Yes, plural. I made two because my first attempt was so absolutely terrible. Here, I’m not ashamed, I’ll show you: My terrible Scratch project.

I’m also not ashamed to admit that that project took me about an hour and a half to make. My first mistake was not watching the tutorial videos, because I’m a digitally-entitled 24 year-old who thinks she can excel at anything on a computer. So instead of stopping to ask for directions, I continued to be lost. Initially, I was just going to turn in that terrible project with a shrug of my shoulders and a “well, I tried” sentiment, but then it started to bother me. I kept thinking about Scratch, kept thinking that I could do better, that I should have watched the tutorial videos, and so I decided to give it another try: My slightly better Scratch Project.

My frustrations this week illuminated an important point for me: education is a journey. I am still a student, after all, and this experience helped me realize the importance of failure. Coincidentally, I ran across an article in The Atlantic entitled, “Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail.” In it, the author (an experienced educator) discusses the importance of failure in education and in life; people need to face challenges in order to grow and mature, she says: “year after year, my “best” students — the ones who are happiest and successful in their lives — are the students who were allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes” (Lahey 2013). And this week, I experienced such challenges first-hand. It really bothered me that my first attempt at Scratch went so poorly, and even though I was busy this week, I made time to re-do my project to make it better. It reminded me that education isn’t supposed to be easy and it is also not supposed to be boring, but it should be challenging.


Lahey, Jessica. (Jan. 29, 2013). Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail. The Atlantic. Retrieved from

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