Educational circles are abuzz with the implications of Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed. While I may infuriate many with such a simple summary, the book suggests the need to create learners with grit and other character traits that have been studied and correlated with successful people. It’s a new twist on an familiar effort to teach “character” in school. It’s hard to argue against building virtues in students, especially considering Tough’s considerable arguments.
There are many ways to use educational technology to foster successful character traits. It’s important to remember as you look for these tools, that they should add to the relationship you have with your students and never replace it. All of the tips here require a skilled teacher and mentor to capture students’ imaginations and guide them on a self-driven exploration with helpful performance metrics that empower students to take ownership. ExitTicket can help.
Use rich multimedia in presentations, especially when establishing a hook. A video clip or sound file can do wonders in bringing content to life and establishing mystery or awe that will fuel student’s wonder. When it’s time for assignments, try offering exciting choices for independent research projects. There are also ways to network with other classes around the world using video-conferencing like Skype or Google Hangouts. Collaborating in such a way can capture students’ interest and peak their curiosity.
Perseverance is not just repetition. Reviewing material again until mastery is achieved requires a teacher that can share and inspire a determination with their students. When using ExitTicket, consistently use the reteach option to review material and address misconceptions. Articulate the goal and the group’s determination to master the target. Follow your review with another exercise (or simply duplicate your previous assessment in ExitTicket) to lock the reviewed content in.
The SuperStreak app inside ExitTicket rewards streaks of correct answers. Students begin to think more critically to preserve their hot streak. I’ve been in classrooms where the room is hushed as the student with a 60-point hot streak submits her answer. They held their breath to see if she’d hit the next level on SuperStreak. You can bet she was selecting her answer conscientiously.
Time your exercises and grow an ability for students to pace themselves. Use interventions to coach students to evaluate their own performance data in ExitTicket and plan their own growth goals. The scorebook students can access inside of ExitTicket can be transformative. Students have an unprecedented view of their comprehension across all of the class’s learning targets. It’s a powerful way to develop a sense of ownership of one’s own education.
Educational technology is usually well-received by students and can spark excitement just with its involvement. It’s not too hard to keep the activities fun and engaging. But be sure to celebrate growth: Even when a student has a low average, it’s still easy to identify areas of strength in their scorebooks. Build from there. Showing tenacity and confidence as a leader in your class will build optimism in your students.
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