Case study after case study describe a common pattern inside schools: A handful of “early adopters” embrace innovative uses of new technology, while their colleagues make incremental or no changes to what they already do.
We know that we have all of the consumer segments in our schools – from visionaries to pragmatists – and we know that we are responsible for supporting all of them. Some teachers are already ready – they’re innovators or early adopters – and all we need to do is show them the tools or inspire them with an idea and they’re off and running
A growth mindset is the belief that you can develop your talents and abilities through hard work, good strategies, and help from others. It stands in opposition to a fixed mindset, which is the belief that talents and abilities are unalterable traits, ones that can never be improved.
We typically teach students a growth mindset through online programs that demonstrate how the brain changes with learning (how the neurons grow stronger connections when students work on hard things and stick with them) and how to apply this to their schoolwork.
"Great effort" became the consolation prize for children who weren't learning. So the very students who most needed to learn about developing their abilities were instead receiving praise for their ineffective effort.
Teachers need to tell the truth. They can acknowledge laudable effort, but they also need to acknowledge when students are not learning effectively, and then work with them to find new learning strategies. (By the way, exhorting students to try hard is another ineffective practice that does not teach a growth mindset.)
Skilled educators set high standards for students but then help them understand how to embark on the path to meeting those standards. It's not a hollow promise.
In the safety of these classrooms, students can begin to leave behind their fixed mindset and try out the idea that they can develop their abilities. We see this happening when teachers give students:
Honest and helpful feedback
Advice on future learning strategies
Opportunities to revise their work and show their learning
In order to work toward more of a growth mindset, we need to observe ourselves and find our triggers. Just spend several weeks noticing when you enter a more threatened, defensive state. Don't judge yourself. Don't fight it. Just observe. Then, as Susan Mackie advises, give your fixed mindset persona a name. Talk to it, calling it by name, when it shows up. Over time, try to recruit it to collaborate on your challenging goals instead of letting it undermine you with doubts and fears.
Technology is tempting to embed in the classroom en masse. It piques kids’ interests and it is fun to explore. But does it lead to achievement and help students grow as learners? We need to ask ourselves these types of questions if we want to realize the impact that connected education can have on students
When words are on a screen, we tend to not stick with content as long as we might when compared to paper.
Reasons include more distractions on a screen, such as multimedia enhancements and advertisements, and the “difficulty to see any one passage in the context of the entire text” (Jabr, 2013). These factors can lead to decreased comprehension and understanding.
dedicated e-readers with e-ink technology are equivalent to print, as far as the mind is concerned. “
So should reading on tablets and laptops be avoided in classrooms? Not if a digital reading experience offers options for learners who need more support.
social media isn’t just for the kids. Educators can leverage these connections to their advantage.
In a recent study, teenagers originally from Mexico living in the US saw improvement in acquiring English skills through interacting within Facebook communities (Stewart, 2014). These adolescents also felt more supported and connected when they were able to communicate with others using their native language.
Sherry Turkle, a scientist from MIT, found that empathy can be reduced by up to 40% in college students when they prioritize online relationships over in person conversations (Turkle, 2015).
What we allow at school needs to be balanced with an awareness of the often unrestricted access students have at home and the community.
Integrating digital devices into the classroom tends to accentuate current instruction but does not improve poor practice (Toyoma, 2015)
college students who do not use a digital device during class show better understanding of the content taught compared to students who did (Shirkey, 2014)
In fact, the mere presence of a laptop or tablet was distracting to those around the student using technology.
Keep it simple. If the digital devices lack a natural point for integration, don’t shoehorn it in for the sake of making instruction “connected.” Pedagogy trumps technology.
For my elementary-school-age children, I care more about whether or not they love going to school than I do about their academic progress. I am clever enough to know that if they are enjoying themselves at school, they will learn. Academics follow naturally if the proper environment for learning is there.
When the learning environment becomes very serious and relies heavily on assessment and grades, learning targets and goals, it is not as enjoyable. It is “work,” and children don’t enjoy work. It’s not in their nature to enjoy work; children are created to learn through play.
What defines “play?” Any activity that engages the imagination and creativity, two skills that lead to innovation and problem solving when practiced often enough.