After watching Renny Gleeson‘s succinct story and lessons of the 404 page the other day I was curious about how such we, as educators, might be able to utilize or view this ‘lemonade from lemons’ anecdote.
Let’s be blunt about this: our youth lack perseverance. Resilience, perhaps the most important character trait, for survival in the new digital landscape (and life in general) is rarely taught, shared, or even exercised by adults and youth.
I observe on a daily basis students, while using their favourite search engine, often run into the 404 page while conducting a search in support of a research project. Most of us, at some point during long stretches of Internet researching (and searching) have come across the 404. It’s a part of traveling the Internet.
I have also witnessed many students become frustrated and unsure of their next move when the 404 page unexpectedly pops up. Many will (and do) give up. Restart their browser of choice. Others blame the computer, the Internet, Google (of all things!), and even the complete idiocy of the assignment (and sometimes its assigner) itself. Gleeson observantly notes that getting a 404 page is like ‘falling through the cracks’ of the Internet. But, he notes that folks like the start up company, Athletepath, it didn’t give up and allow the 404 to be the end of a search or end of the Internet road. In a rather slapstick fashion (use of a subtly horrific bicycle crash), informed the visitor that indeed they had reached the end of this thread, but it’s not the end of the search. Simply, turn around and try again.
It’s like the gussied up Athletepath 404 errors assuages, “We understand that you’re frustrated. You didn’t find the gold at the end of the URL you thought you had; and we sympathize. But, hey have a laugh and get back on with it. It’s not as bad at that guy’s problem.”
Resilience from a 404 page…