By Jessica Sanders
Growth mindset is a phrase that’s tossed around regularly in the education space—along with terms like blended learning and gamification. However, not many people understand what it is or how to promote it in the classroom.
So what is Growth is growth mindset? “It is the belief that qualities can change and that we can develop our intelligence and abilities,” said Eduardo Briceno. This general definition can be broken out into various ideas such as the importance of making mistakes or reflecting on the learning process, all of which are critical in teaching students about growth mindset.
Empower your students to use and understand growth mindset in the classroom with these eight apps, broken into three main growth mindset ideals.
Briceno noted that a common misconception about growth mindset is that to foster it, teachers simply need to praise students for working hard, which is not the case.
The correct idea: “Mistakes are good; we learn from mistakes,” said Briceno. More than that, reflecting on these mistakes and coming up with a new plan based on them, especially the mistakes that are made when students are outside of their comfort zone, is what makes growth mindset a powerful learning opportunity.
Whooo’s Reading: This web app allows you to help students improve their writing based on personalized feedback. After answering a standards-aligned, open-ended question, the response is sent to you for grading. You can then score the answer and give the student feedback on how he/she can improve to get a higher score—score is tied to Wisdom Coins, giving students even more motivation to take a second swing at it.
Kaizena: Use this app to provide immediate, real-time feedback to students, noting mistakes and giving them a chance to fix them for a better grade. While you can do this with Google Docs (comments), Kaizena allows you to track and compare your feedback history, over multiple assignments, providing insight on student growth that they can benefit from seeing as well.
Mind Games: This brain games app is a great way to encourage mistakes in a way that’s fun for students. Students can choose from 17 different puzzles and 180 levels—encourage them to play one level higher than they think they should. If they lose, they’ll have to consider what went wrong and how they can improve to win next time. If they win, they’ll be encouraged to try for an ever harder level next time.
Focus on the Process
Reflective thinking is just as important as critical thinking—but with reflective thinking, students are focused on how they approach the problem, rather than the outcome itself. This is a critical aspect of facilitating growth mindset in the classroom.
GoSoapBox: This clickr tool increases engagement, while helping teachers promote growth mindset. “This tool provides multiple assessment tools that students can access through their devices. These tools include short answer and a thumbs-up and thumbs-down indicator,” explains Josh Elliott, adjunct professor and edtech professional.
“This indicator is an icon that conveys a level of understanding in regards to whatever topic is being discussed in class. This presents an opportunity for the teacher to discuss the misunderstanding and talk with them about how they’re addressing the problem.”
Haiku Deck: An important part of “focusing on the process” is giving students a chance to look back at what they did and reflect upon their choices. Haiku Deck provides them with a great platform for gathering, presentencing, and ultimately understanding these reflections.
Students can use Haiku Deck (Google Slides and Emaze provide many of the same features for free) to present their reflections. Having to put these reflections into a presentation forces them to truly understand what they mean in terms of growth.
Show students that they can change and develop new skills over time with small, attainable goals. “Small wins, repeated over time, can lead to a growth mindset,” said James Clear, behavior science professional.
Daily Goals: This app is perfect for setting and tracking student goals. Though it wasn’t created for use in the school setting, it has all the features of a motivating student goal tracker. Once signed up, students simply create their goal(s)—read something new every day, write one blog post a week—and then keep track of it with the app. With built-in analytics, students are able to determine what might be holding them back, assessing the process rather than just the outcome.
Instructables: Don’t restrict students to setting traditional goals. With Instructables—a website that provides tutorials for creating everything from a meal to a robot—the goal is the project. The power of growth mindset is most obvious when students complete the project, especially if it was challenging—Wow, I never thought I could build a robot! The same result can come from allowing students to deign their own video games or websites with tools like Scratch, Hopscotch and Tinkercad.
Be The Change: This app provides students with a small challenge every day, each one focused on being the change we wish to see in the world. With this app, students are given small goals that are not only attainable, but make them think about kindness. You can tackle one goal a week as a class and then use the reflection tools above to discuss and analyze how everyone reached the goal individually.