16 Habits of Mind, Part 1

The Institute for Habits of Mind seeks to shift schools’ focus, if needed, “by attributing success to hard work, effort, persisting…not just being smart.”

It boasts 16 Habits of Mind, several of which I’d like to explain below as they relate to using social media professionally. Especially if you are new to many Web 2.0 tools, this post is for you…


Students often give up in despair when the answer to a problem is not immediately known. They sometimes crumple their papers and throw them away saying, “I can’t do this,” “It’s too hard,” or, they write down any answer to get the task over with as quickly as possible.

The learning curve for Web 2.0 can be steep. But rather than giving up or doing a half-hearted job, look for instructional videos. Ask others for assistance. Engage with the task rather than checking it off. You’re here to get an education, not a grade.

Managing Impulsivity

Sometimes they shout out an answer, start to work without fully understanding the directions, lack an organized plan or strategy for approaching a problem or make immediate value judgments about an idea—criticizing or praising it— before fully understanding it. 

Follow the directions, always. Give the tool some time, always. Think about your content strengths and the kinds of work you would like to show your parents or future employers. If you work with Prezi for ten minutes (without watching the how-to video or checking the assignment instructions), you’re really not qualified to judge whether it’s good or bad.

Striving for Accuracy and Precision

Some students may turn in sloppy, incomplete or uncorrected work. They are more anxious to get rid of the assignment than to check it over for accuracy and precision. They are willing to suffice with minimum effort rather than investing their maximum. 

The nature of Web 2.0 — quick, short, shared — can result in quick, short products. Just because a tweet is only 140 characters does not mean that spelling no longer matters. Blogs should be written in complete sentences, not texting shorthand. Anything posted under your name represents your professional identity, and you don’t want to be seen as “sloppy, incomplete or uncorrected.”

"brains and gears" available under CC license from Jean-Rémy Dubocat Flickr
“brains and gears” available under CC license from Jean-Rémy Duboc at Flickr

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