The world is changing and how we teach and learn may look very different in a world of Covid-19 compared to what we might be used to.

Keeping a growth mindset can help as schools shut down and we switch to distance learning.

This video and slideshow is to explain to teachers and students about strategies to try as we struggle through the challenges of learning from home and online learning.

Part 1: MINDS ON

  • Talking about social distancing, communication, ways of teaching and distance learning

Part 2: Lesson: Encouraging a Growth Mindset with strategies

Obstacle #1: I got distracted

  • Strategy #1: Set a time to do distance-learning or you won’t do it.
  • Strategy #2: Make it a habit and you’ll find things get easier and easier.
  • Strategy #3: Avoid friends and turn off the social media, notifications and other distractions while you’re doing your work.

Obstacle #2: I tried. It didn’t work. I give up.

  • Strategy #4: Chunk it out. Break a large task into smaller pieces that are easier to do and get your mind wrapped around.
  • Strategy #5: If you find yourself stuck, you could restart. Learn from your mistakes and try again.
  • Strategy #6: When you are stuck, try adding the word yet. Instead of saying I don’t get this, try saying I don’t get this, yet. And then start wondering what might have to happen in order for you to get it.

Part 3: Big Picture

  • Reflecting on Digital Literacy strategies
  • Looking at 21st Century Competencies: Character, Citizenship, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity (Innovation), Critical Thinking

Get the slideshow to edit for your classroom needs (Link coming soon.)


Here’s the YouTube link


Hi everyone, it’s Mike from Educircles and today as part of our media literacy and digital learning series, we’re going to take a look at how a growth mindset might help us as we try to figure out what school could look like in a world of Covid-19.

Things are changing very quickly. What school looks like for you this week might be very different compared with last week.

This can seem very challenging, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for us to develop grit, perseverance and resilience as we work on our skills to overcome obstacles.

Now, before we start this mini lesson about using a growth mindset as a digital literacy strategy, let’s turn our minds on and think about social distancing and communication.

Part 1: MINDS ON

Social distancing means we stay apart from other people to slow down the spread of a virus like Covid-19. 

Remember, learning can take place anywhere, not just in the classroom.

Teachers can teach students as long as we can communicate with each other.


So, let’s think about communication for a moment.

Communication is when a message goes from one person to another person. Often, teachers and students are in the same room when we communicate, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s a video about the communication process.

So, how can we get a message to someone if we’re not in the same place at the same time?

Let’s talk about teaching.

One aspect of teaching involves getting ideas and information from the teacher to the students.

  • Teachers then look for feedback to see whether or not a student gets it – can they demonstrate what they learned?
  • Based on this feedback and their professional judgement, the teacher might adapt the lesson to help the student understand a missing concept.
  • A teacher might also assess or evaluate work to provide feedback so the student can improve. It’s a cycle.

Instead of talking in the same room, you could use video conferencing software and chat with your students in real time.

  • Or, you could record a video and your students could watch the video later.
  • There doesn’t even have to be video involved. A teacher could show a screen cast of a slideshow and explain concepts as they go through the lesson, kind of like what we’re doing now.

Instead of writing, you could type using an online tool like Google Docs or Google Classroom.

  • A student could type a response to an assignment in Google Classroom, and then someone else from the class community might join the conversation.

Nonverbal messages tend to be physical body cues

  • so that might be something you need videoconferencing for.
  • But there can also be other nonverbal messages like how quickly someone responds to an online message might tell you something about the message or the sender…

Technology lets us communicate with people at different times.

  • We can both be online at the same time and communicate with each other
    • this is called synchronous learning.
    • We get immediate feedback from our classmates and teachers in real time.
  • Or we might be online at different times
    • this is called asynchronous learning.
    • Someone asks a question in a forum, and then later that day, someone else responds with an answer. We’re still having a conversation – just not immediately in real time.


The world is changing and how we teach and learn may look very different in a world of Covid-19 compared to what we might be used to.

If students and teachers can go to school, we can have the traditional model of whole class learning.

  • That’s when we’re all together face-to-face.
  • Usually what happens is the teacher introduces new content at school and then the student practices the skill or understanding at home through homework questions, projects and assignments.

But, there are other ways we can learn.

Online learning can take place at school or at home.

  • In some cases, online learning can look like an online course completely that the student does independently at their own pace.   
  • In other cases, online learning might be a online course guided by a teacher who checks in with students and answer any questions they might have. There might be group chats and tutoring virtual meetings.
  • Online learning can also be dynamic and modified as the course goes along based on a teacher’s professional judgement. Learning management systems and digital tools like Google Classroom and Google Hangout help students and teachers communicate in a virtual classroom.

We could have also blended learning, which is a mix of traditional face-to-face learning and online learning.

  • An example of blended learning is called a flipped classroom.
  • A flipped classroom is where students are introduced to ideas and concepts at home using online resources.
  • Then when they go to school, they practice skills in the classroom by doing homework and working on projects and the teacher is there to help the students when they need it.

No one knows what the future might look like.

There are lots of different ways to learn. Right now, around the world, different classes are dealing with social distancing and distance learning in different ways. 


Distance learning is when teachers teach the curriculum to a student who is not physically at school.

We can use digital tools in our separate homes to communicate with each other.

This is a new challenge for most of us.

So, if we’re able to cultivate a growth mindset during these difficult times, we’ll be able to work on our perseverance. And this is a transferable skill – it will help us in other situations to bounce back up when we get knocked down.  

Growth Mindset

Let’s talk about Growth Mindset.

The idea about mindset is based on decades of research on achievement and success by Dr. Carol Dweck.

Research shows that there are two different kinds of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

  • A fixed mindset is when you believe that success is based on what you were born with. You are who you are. That’s just the way it is.
  • A growth mindset is the idea that success is based on hard work, learning from your mistakes, training and practicing, and not giving up.

There are two important things to know about mindset.

  • The first thing we need to know is that the power of our mindset is more important than our ability
  • The second important thing we need to know is that you can choose to change your mindset. 

As we use more digital tools for learning, there will definitely be obstacles and challenges!

Things will go horribly wrong:

  • You might not have access to a computer or device.
  • Your login might not work.
  • The Wi-Fi might be too slow.
  • The computer might lose power before you can save your work, so now you have to start over and do it all again.

This is when you might start saying to yourself,

  • This is too hard.
  • I’m just not good at computers. I don’t get this stuff!
  • Why do I have to do this?

And that’s just what the teachers might be thinking about!

Okay, some students might be thinking that as well.

What you have to remember is that even though there are obstacles and challenges, there will be times when things go fantastically well!

You will also have success as we start to do distance-learning and online learning:

  • You’ll be trying different ways to get something to work and then all of a sudden you figure it out.
  • Something won’t work the first time so you try again and this time it works even though you did the exact same thing.
  • You try out a hunch and it works the first time! Maybe, it just needs a little bit of tweaking to get it exactly the way you want.

This is where the magic happens because you start wondering and connecting ideas and creating new information that you didn’t have before.

There will always be obstacles when we use technology.

A student doing distance-learning for the first time might say something like, “I can’t find the video that my teacher posted – the link didn’t work. I tried. This is too tough. I give up.”

If you find yourself in a fixed mindset thinking something like, “I’m just not that good with computers.“

Try to put yourself into a growth mindset.

“Okay. If I keep trying different strategies, maybe there’s another way to get this to work.”

If we use strategies, we can get better at using technology and distance-learning.

The following growth mindset strategies can help in any situation whether we’re talking about online learning, distance-learning, or learning when you’re physically at school.

Life is full of obstacles. So is distance-learning. So is learning in the classroom, for that matter.

A growth mindset is knowing that we can use strategies to overcome these obstacles.

It’s important to remember that everything doesn’t work for everybody all the time.

So, try different strategies to see what works for you, but, make sure you have a toolkit of strategies because what works now may not always work for you in the future. You have to be ready for the unknown!  


One big obstacle with distance-learning and online learning is getting distracted

Online learning at home can be tough, just like doing homework at home can be tough.

Try these strategies to help you with distance-learning

Strategy #1. Set a time to do it.

Schedule time to do your distance-learning or it just won’t get done. You’ll forget it, or you’ll do something more fun – like play video games.

Try to do your distance-learning at the same time so it becomes a routine

Strategy #2 Make it a habit.

We are what we do repeatedly, so the more we do distance-learning, the easier it will get.

If we do something over and over again like handing in assignments online, or using videoconferencing tools, the easier it will get.

Things are definitely harder the first time we do things. You might not be able to login – the microphone doesn’t work… you can’t hear the other person. But eventually, you’ll start to get the hang of it and it gets easier.

Strategy #3. Avoid friends

Friends are fantastic and they can help you out when you don’t understand something.

But friends can also distract you when you’re trying to work. They can slow you down from being productive and getting things done.

When you are doing distance-learning at home, it’s important to turn off the texting, the social media,  the notifications, the instant messaging, the entertainment apps – you get the idea.

OBSTACLE #2: I tried. It didn’t work. I give up.

Another big obstacle you might face – whether you’re learning at school or your distance-learning – is this one: you tried, but it didn’t work so you give up

Strategy #4 that you might use to help you overcome this obstacle would be to chunk it out.

This is the idea where you take a hard, overwhelming task and you make it easier by breaking it into smaller steps. Then you focus on doing one thing at a time.

Ask yourself, what do you need to do first?

Can you start with an easy task or a fun task to try to build momentum? Sometimes things are hard to start, but once you start, it’s easier to keep going.

Strategy #5: Restart or Try Again

The first time you try something, it may not work the way you wanted it to.

So, learn from what didn’t work and try again.

Keep trying until you figure it out.

You can restart as often as you want and we’re not literally talking about rebooting your computer. (although sometimes, that might help.)

If you’re doing an assignment and things aren’t working out. Why don’t you backtrack a little and try that section again?

Strategy #6.

When you get stuck, add the word “yet” to the end of your sentence.

Instead of saying, “I can’t do this”, try saying, “I can’t do this, yet.”

It gets your brain wondering how could you do it instead of just focusing on how you can’t.


So, to recap, here are six strategies to help you keep a growth mindset as we start to do more distance-learning and online learning

(And, by the way, if you can master these strategies now, they will help you in the future. Like when you have job, and you have to telecommute and work from home.)

Strategy #1. Set a time to do distance-learning or you won’t do it.

#2 Make it a habit and you’ll find things get easier and easier.

#3 Avoid friends and turn off the social media, notifications and other distractions while you’re doing your work.

#4 Chunk it out. Break a large task into smaller pieces that are easier to do and get your mind wrapped around.

#5 If you find yourself stuck, you could restart. Learn from your mistakes and try again.

Finally #6, When you are stuck, try adding the word yet. Instead of saying I don’t get this, try saying I don’t get this, yet. And then start wondering what might have to happen in order for you to get it.

(I know you don’t get it right now… but if there was an alternate universe where you do get it, what might have to happen, so you could figure it out?)

Part 3. Bigger Picture

If we look at the bigger picture, we need to know that

Reflecting on digital literacy skills and strategies is just part of the many things we need to be able to do to use information communication technology effectively.

And, of course digital literacy skills are important to have in order to survive and thrive in today’s 21st-century world.

Covid-19 is showing us exactly how interconnected our world is.

We live in a global economy. Who knows what kinds of exciting opportunities and challenges are waiting for us in the future! 

Learning how to use online tools and distance learning may be a new experience for some of us. There are always challenges when we do something new.

Distance Learning is a wonderful opportunity for us to develop character – that means having the resilience and tenacity to keep going when things get tough. Character is the ability to bounce back when we get knocked down.

Trying to keep a growth mindset means reminding ourselves that if we use specific strategies, these strategies can help us to overcome obstacles.

Using a growth mindset is more than just a digital literacy strategy. It’s a thinking strategy which means it’s a life strategy.

It’s something we can use across the 21st-century competencies.

  • We can use a growth mindset and hard work to build character during tough moments like right now as the world has to grapple with Covid-19.
  • We can use a growth mindset and find strategies to help the communities we belong to. For example, during the Covid-19 pandemic, one strategy we can do to help our community is social distancing.
  • We can use a growth mindset and look for =ways to communicate even though we’re not in the same room.
  • We can use a growth mindset to recognize that if we do certain things we can find ways to connect ideas and create new understandings
  • and finally, we can use a growth mindset and use specific strategies to think critically instead of just responding emotionally when we hear new ideas or get more information about Covid-19.

Don’t forget to like this video and subscribe to the channel.

Teachers, if you want to download this Google Slide, click here.

Good luck keeping a growth mindset as you explore distance-learning!