Mobile devices: Student ownership and usage

As we experiment with new learning technologies that depend on mobile devices  it is worthwhile to take stock of student’s ownership and usage of mobile devices. The following data comes from the 2015 Educause Center for Analytics and Research (ECAR) survey.  411 Brown University students completed the survey.

  • Of the 383 students who answered this question 98% owned a laptop and 94% owned a smartphone.
  • Majority of the smartphones (73%) were iphone, followed by Android phones (24%).
  • Majority of students (97.5%) used a laptop to do academic work for most or all of their courses compared to smartphones (18%). Another 12% reported using smartphones for at least half of their courses. This is overall academic use related to the courses not necessarily use in the classroom.

Working at the Intersection of Instructional Technology & the Public Humanities

Let me start of this post by saying “hello!” I started working as the digital humanities graduate fellow with the ITG last August, but am only now trying my hand at the blog.

I’m an MA student in the Public Humanities Program and my interests lie in digital humanities, public history, informational education, and museum studies. As the inaugural graduate fellow to the ITG, I work with staff to assist faculty incorporating technology into their curricula and research. Course blogs, digital exhibits, interactive mapping—this past semester has shown me the wide variety of faculty projects here at Brown. For my first post, I wanted to highlight some of the questions I hope to explore during my time here at the ITG.

What is the relationship between creators, audience, medium and message?
Digital learning projects bring many players to the table. Faculty, students, and instructional designers each leverage their own agenda and expertise. So, how can we work to balance these interests with the resources available? What content, which narratives best lend themselves to digital storytelling? How do we edit and manipulate content so that it translates from the classroom (or on paper) and onto the web? Continue reading

Encouraging “Growth Mindset”

Students are more likely to be motivated to learn and resilient in the face of obstacles, if they have a ‘growth mindset’. According to Carol Dweck, a Stanford University professor, all of us fall somewhere on the continuum of fixed and growth mindset. The people with fixed mindset believe they have an innate unchangeable ability that leads to success while people with growth mindset believe that talents and abilities can be developed through effort, training, learning from experiences, and persistence.

Williams from Harvardx, Dweck and many others have studied the effect of classroom interventions that introduced the concept of growth mindset and neuroplasticity to high school students as well as undergraduate students. It is important to incorporate these brief socio-psychological interventions in the classroom in addition to the semester long engagement with the concepts in different disciplines, as they generally have a long term effect on academic success.

Listen to Dweck summarizing her team’s research in this video on Growth Mindset. In this Ted talk she focuses on ways to give feedback on assessment to cultivate growth mindset. For more information on effects of brief session long socio-psychological interventions that address students’ motivation and beliefs about their ability, read a review of research by Yeager and Walton: “Social-Psychological Interventions in Education: They’re Not Magic”.

PERT, Project for Education Research That Scales, creates and evaluates resources that instructors can use to help their students become successful learners. PERT offers a lesson plan to teach students about Growth mindset. The lesson plan is targeted at high school students but has a lot of resources to help you adapt it to your specific audience. PERT is also a good place to explore for yourself the concept of mindset and the way it affects student success. If you would rather create your own short activity for your students, here are some videos that can work as your base material:

If you would like to incorporate learning from this research in your course next year or would like to study the effect of such intervention in your classroom, don’t hesitate to contact us at