TL Advisor Blog

Abundance or Deficit Thinking For Mobile Learning

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July 19, 2013 By: Harry G. Tuttle

Jul 19

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7/19/2013 12:23 PM  RssIcon

Teachers and administrators think and act according to an abundance or deficit mentality. A few examples from mobile learning will explain the difference between the two ways of thinking and acting.

In a deficit mentality, an educator says the school does not provide mobile devices or that not all students have their own mobile device and,therefore, the teacher cannot use mobile learning in his/her class. However, with an abundance mentality, a teacher says that at least half of the students have mobile devices so the students can work in pairs and therefore, the teacher uses mobile learning in the classroom.

In terms of training with the deficit way of thinking, the teacher would say there is little or no district professional development and, therefore, the teacher cannot begin mobile learning in the class; on the other hand, in an abundance model, the teacher would ask his/her students to teach him/her about how to use mobile devices.

Furthermore, with regard to the selection of apps with the deficiency model a teacher would say that he/she does not know which apps to use and therefore, the teacher does not do mobile learning. Conversely, with an abundance mentality, the teacher simply asks his/her students what apps they think they could use in his/her course.

Also, with deficit thinking, a teacher might say there is no money for apps and, therefore, the class cannot use mobile devices. Yet, in the abundance model a teacher or students identify free apps that they can use.

Likewise, in the deficit model, a teacher might feel that there is no way to assess students with mobile learning since the students cannot share their screen with the teacher as they would do in a computer lab and, therefore, he’/she will not do mobile learning. In an abundant mentality, the teacher has the students physically show their device’s screen to the teacher.

Do you have an abundant or deficit way of thinking in your class?

cross-posted at

Harry Grover Tuttle teaches English and Spanish college courses at Onondaga Community College and blogs at Education with Technology. He is also the author of several books on formative assessment and the new ebook 90 Mobile Learning Modern Language Activities.


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