Digital Learning and Grit:Tech Tools for Teachers in Flipped (and all) Classrooms

5/1/2013 5:00:00 PM
Meghan Enga teaches 6th and 7th grade at Banting Middle School in Vancouver, BC. She uses a 3D learning platform called Quest Atlantis (QA). In QA, students undertake virtual quests that feel a lot like playing a video game, but with a story line that inspires social awareness. In the game, they can take on the role of a scientist, doctor, or mathematician. From those characters, they can gather information and interact with other players. ‘There is a lot of engagement and use of play theory,’ Enga says. “Embedded beneath all of this cool, engaged, and connected activity is a scaffold for the development of a set of skills vital for the students’ future success. This important toolkit for the future can be called ‘grit, perseverance and tenacity.'"
A new draft report from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Technology, entitled “Promoting Grit, Perseverance, and Tenacity: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century, discusses the role of technology as a tool to support the “non-cognitive factors, attributes, dispositions, social skills, attitudes, and intrapersonal resources” that support student success. The report is part of a move to recognize and define a set of essential skills that will help students realize their full potential.
These attributes can be described in many ways. For clarity, the report defines grit as “perseverance to accomplish long-term or higher-order goals in the face of challenges and setbacks, engaging the student’s psychological resources, such as academic mindsets, and having the ability to look beyond current situations to future goals, strategies, and tactics.” Here you’ll find a few examples of the use of digital learning environments, online resources, and tools for teachers drawn from this line of research. These examples offer a glimpse into the potential of technology to support grit, tenacity, and perseverance.
How can technology leaders, and flipped classroom educators in particular, use the information in this report?
The flipped classroom presents a special opportunity because extra time in class makes room for a more engaging learning space. It paves the way for the creation of a more motivating learning environment. Some educators are using engaging, immersive digital worlds full of optimally challenging tasks as part of their ‘flipped’ equation.
Tools for immersive digital learning environments
Meghan Enga’s Quest Atlantis classroom, above, is an example of a digital environment which provides resources for persistence, tenacity, and grit. The 3D GameLab is another such tool developed by a team from the Educational Technology department at Boise State University. Lisa Dawley and colleague Chris Haskell co-created the 3D GameLab quest-based learning platform to provide experiences that lead students to persist. By using 3D GameLab Dawley says, “Students are rewarded for their work as they level up, they learn to stay persistent, and they engage in true mastery learning. Early research is showing that on average, students remained more persistent in quest-based learning compared to traditional assignments.”
In the immersive, blended-genre physics game Impulse! developed by EdGE @TERC, students find themselves in a simulation of ambient particles obeying Newton’s laws. Impulse requires the player to apply a force (an impulse) through a touch or click input, either on the Web or handheld device. To succeed in the game, players must develop strategies as they also become more knowledgeable about the behavior of particles. This immersive game gets more challenging the longer students play, which offers challenging and engaging experiences. This is a combination that leads to perseverance while learning physics.
Tools for the development of academic mindsets

A belief that effort will make students smarter and more successful – known as ‘growth mindset’--is perhaps the most fundamental foundation of grit, tenacity, and perseverance for learners. Brainology is a blended learning program that offers 2.5 hours of online instruction and additional activities. Already in use in schools and districts, the program provides a structured path for all students to develop a growth mindset. The researchers of Transforming the Engagement of Students Learning Algebra, or TESLA, partnered with Brainology to implement an abridged version of the program. TESLA focuses on algebra content in an immersive environment while providing support for students' motivation using a variety of technology-based tools. As part of a research project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, TESLA developers are studying the effects of student participation in problem-based scenarios with scaffolds to support the development of students' motivation in math. The research is charting a path to make algebra relevant while preparing students for success in STEM careers.
Tools for promoting a supportive classroom climate
A supportive classroom climate helps students persist and stay on task. Programs such as ClassDojo and Kickboard for Teachers provide an array of tools to manage the climate of the classroom. ClassDojo includes tools to track and reinforce students’ own expectations for behavior and work time. Kickboard for Teachers also provides tools for tracking classroom behavior, which is folded into a tool to analyze classroom and school culture.
Next steps
The digital environments and tools mentioned here represent some of the opportunities to support the development of grit, tenacity, and perseverance. While these tools are supportive for the flipped classroom, all students, educators, and districts can benefit from a focus on grit.
Resources

US Department of Education Office of Technology Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance—Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century
www.ed.gov/edblogs/technology/research
Quest Atlantis
atlantisremixed.org
Video Interview with Meghan Enga, Quest Atlantis educator
www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5Ao0lBnnqw&list=UUorm2YIJjNXfmMfog65TKoQ&index=63
3D GameLab
3dgamelab.com
Impulse! from EdGE@TERC
edge328.com/edge/games/impulse
Transforming Engagement of Students Learning Algebra (TESLA)
Tesla-project.org
Brainology
www.mindsetworks.com
Class Dojo
Classdojo.com
Kickboard for Teachers
www.kickboardforteachers.com
comments powered by Disqus
Tweets
Photo GalleriesView All Galleries >
Acer C720-2844 Chromebook

(www.acer.com) The Acer C720-2844 Chromebook model delivers speedy performance, a quick boot time of seven seconds, and a matte anti-glare display tha...

Britannica ImageQuest

(www.britannica.com) Britannica Digital Learning has upgraded ImageQuest, a resource for schools and libraries that provides nearly three million rig...

ClassFlow

(www.classflow.com) Promethean has released ClassFlow, a free, all-in-one, cloud-based teaching tool that lets teachers create and deliver interactive...

Adobe Voice

(www.adobe.com) Adobe has released Adobe Voice, an animated video app for the iPad that lets users create and share video stories. The app incorporate...

DeskBoard

(www.boxlight.com) The BOXLIGHT DeskBoard mobile cart adjusts both height and tilt for the P8 ultra short throw interactive projector on a white surfa...

Core 36M

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has introduced Core 36M, a 36-unit charging cart that is optimized for Chromebooks but which also supports most tablets, l...

Edmentum Sensei

(www.edmentum.com) Edmentum Sensei is a mobile optimized solution that helps administrators visualize and track overall school, teacher, and student p...

HMH Player

(www.hmhco.com) HMH has released HMH Player, a new native app for iOS and Google Chrome that streamlines the learning experience for improved digital ...

Juice Power System

(www.bretford.com) Bretford has unveiled an easy-to-use modular power system with exchangeable power components. The Juice Power System uses unique &#...

LightSail

(www.lightsailed.com) LightSail Education has announced a literacy accelerator that combines books with in-text embedded assessments and real-time dat...

myON

(www.myon.com) myON has expanded its digital library to include a set of literacy tools to further personalize the reading experience for students whi...

Nervanix Clarity

(www.nervanix.com) Nervanix has released Clarity, an application that monitors student attention levels as they study and guides them to revisit conce...

MathBall

(www.robotslab.com) RobotsLAB has introduced MathBall, a smart sensor basketball and tablet system that offers curricula in algebra, pre-calculus, phy...

MobileAsset.EDU

(www.waspbarcode.com) Wasp Barcode’s MobileAsset.EDU solutions include everything administrators need to account for their assets, from software...

OpenEd Assessment Creation Tool

(www.opened.io) OpenEd has announced a free tool that lets teachers easily create assessments with the question types required by Common Core standard...

Panasonic TH-80LFB70U

(www.panasonic.com) Panasonic’s TH-80LFB70U interactive LED display features high-speed, multi-touch, interactive capabilities to promote partic...

penveu interactive display system

(www.penveu.com) The penveu interactive display system is a handheld device that turns projectors and large screen displays into interactive whiteboar...

PresentationPro

(www.califone.com) Califone has updated its PresentationPro speaker. The PA310 readily connects with computers, LCD projectors, mobile devices, intera...

PowerSync+ Mobile Companion App

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has announced the availability of the companion app for its PowerSync+ enabled charge and sync produc...

PureCharge Carts and Stations for iPad

(www.bretford.com) Bretford Manufacturing, Inc. has debuted the PureCharge family of iPad and iPad mini charging carts and stations. By offering pre-i...

ProQuest Research Companion

(www.proquest.com) ProQuest’s new information literacy product, Research Companion, offers videos that guide users through the research process,...

Sphere2 & Class Send Student Engagement Software Platform

(www.averusa.com) AVer Information has developed a Student Engagement platform, providing teachers and students with the tools to transmit document ca...

TabChargeCT2

(www.averusa.com) AVer has released the TabChargeCT2 charge cart solution, which can hold up to 40 Chromebooks, iPads, Android or Windows tablets, lap...

VoiceLift with Instant Alert and Emergency Video Monitoring

(www.extron.com) The Instant Alert function of the Extron VoiceLift Microphone, combined with a PoleVault, WallVault, or PlenumVault classroom AV sys...

SMART Board 6065

(www.smarttech.com) The SMART Board 6065 is an ultra HD, 4K interactive flat panel that offers collaborative capabilities while ensuring lessons run s...

Gaggle Unity Partner Program

(www.gaggle.net) The new Gaggle Unity Partner Program provides free data integration services for all educational technology vendors. Through the Gagg...

Waterford Early Learning, Reading, Math & Science

(www.waterford.org) Waterford Early Learning Cloud can be used at home or to supplement lessons in classrooms. It can also be used for individual adap...

NetSupport School

(www.netsupportschool.com) The latest version of NetSupport School allows teachers to monitor and collaborate with any mix of technology. An enhanced ...

Camtasia

(www.techsmith.com/camtasia) TechSmith’s Camtasia gives teachers the tools to record lessons, create videos, and engage their audiences. Educato...

Panasonic 3E

(www.panasonic.com) Intel has teamed up with Panasonic to announce the Panasonic 3E, which uses the Intel Education 2-in-1 reference design. Designed ...