Technology and gritty learning
Psychologist Angela Duckworth defines grit as a combination of passion, perseverance, and stamina applied over the long term. Dr. Duckworth has found that gritty students are very successful in formal learning situations such as high school, college, and military training.
A recent article discusses technologies that might be used to reinforce grit. Potentially effective strategies include:
- As students progress through a learning task, adaptive systems track responses in order to provide optimal challenge – a level of work that is neither boringly easy nor frustratingly hard.
- Data gathering software tracks how long students spend on a task or how many times they attempt to answer a question
- Facial recognition and biofeedback tracks reactions and looks for indications that students are either frustrated or absorbed in a learning task.
More on grit
- Grit: Perseverance and Passion for Long-Term Goals (2007 paper by Duckworth, et al.)
- Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance (US Dept. of Ed., Feb.2013)
- Angela Duckworth and the Research on ‘Grit’ (American Public Media)
- Can technology teach grit? (Anya Kamenetz, Digital)
A different angle
While I love the idea of encouraging students to stick with their learning, I hope educators don’t get obsessed with promoting grit. It could be a short step from grit to stubbornness or close-mindedness. In the post-school world, an adult should know when to cut her losses and move on to something new. An entrepreneur needs to recognize when something has failed and more on to the next project. Let’s just keep grit in perspective.