Growth Mindset in Technology Integration + UDL
As I have read Mindset and have looked over the other course materials, I have been thinking about my mindset in terms of my education, relationships, career and other interests. I would say that I have a mixture of growth and fixed mindsets depending on the circumstances, which is what I would assume most individuals would consider themselves. I find that in areas where I am naturally more inclined or talented, I tend to want to develop my skillset and accomplish new things; I’m debating if that is completely a growth mindset or reflective of a mixture of growth and fixed mindsets. In areas where I am less confident or feel like I have no inherent ability, I tend to have a fixed mindset and either avoid those tasks completely or try to minimize the effort I put into them i.e. it helps me “feel smart in the short run”. As I have progressed in life, I feel that I am more willing to try things that are out of my comfort zone, and am less likely to be bothered by a failure, and more apt to learn from it.
I feel that approaching some things with a fixed mindset has set me back in the past. I am afraid of rejection, and I do tend avoid situations where that might be possible, whether it is in my career or my relationships. I see this now as a type of resistance to failure: staying in the zone where I feel comfortable and successful already, and not taking risks on further growth because I might be lead to failure or disappointment.
An important goal I have as it relates to technology integration in my career is to develop content specific curriculum that involves instructional technology and digital learning. In my personal practice as a teacher I have tried to approach this with a growth mindset, and I have taken the opportunity to try new things in instruction, while being quick to adapt to challenges while we are working, and then taking the time to review the activity, evaluate it's effectiveness, and make the necessary changes. I would say this type of self-reflectiveness would also help prevent the 'false' growth mindset from becoming sinking in; instead of satisfaction with just the process of integrating technology we need to examine if it results in improved learning experiences, skill and mastery.
It would be my goal to do this on a bigger scale as an instructional technologist/digital learning specialist. This would be where I would be out of my comfort zone, because I wouldn’t just be working for myself; I would be working to help others incorporate technology into their own content and lesson planning (which may be in areas I am not familiar with). When considering this I looked up a article online that appeared in the Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education; ‘Six Objectives for Technology Infusion into Teacher Education: a model in action’ describes one of the objectives as “provide an institutional environment supportive of the 'risk taking' necessary by faculty to try new approaches to instruction”. Not only would I need to be in a growth mindset, where I’m willing to take risks, but the teachers I am collaborating with and our institution would need to be in the same mindset as well. What was interesting about this article was that it was published in 1996 (which may as well have been during the Stone Age when compared to current consumer technology), but the ideas and objectives of technology integration were already being discussed, and we are still in the process of implementing them in 2017.
When it comes to learning and pursuing life goals, I think that the “why” is more important than the “what” and “how”. The latter two are comprised of categorizing, identifying, planning and organizing, which are more mechanical tasks that need a “bigger picture” to give them meaning. This idea of a greater purpose is where the “why” comes in: the affective aspects of motivation, engagement, application and relevance. The principle of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is used to examine the “what, why and how” aspects of learning from the perspective of the individual learner, in order to create an environment of personalized learning for them. Curriculum approached with UDL principles in mind will allow for greater compatibility between the way students are taught and how they learn. This article, “UDL Guides Personalized Learning”, was a useful resource in understanding this topic.
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House.
Mindset | How can you change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset? (2017). Mindsetonline.com. Retrieved from http://mindsetonline.com/changeyourmindset/firststeps/index.html
Topp, N. W., Mortenson, R., & Grandgenett, N. (1996). Six Objectives for Technology Infusion into Teacher Education: a model in action. Journal of Information Technology for Teacher Education, 5(1-2), 57-69. doi:10.1080/0962029960050107
UDL Guides Personalized Learning. (2013, June 20). Personalize Learning. Retrieved from http://www.personalizelearning.com/2013/06/udl-guides-personalized-learning.html