A growth mindset as defined by Carol S. Dweck “is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others.” So, what is the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset? In a fixed mindset, it is believed that you have what you have and are either born with the talent or aptitude, or you aren’t. For example, “I’m lousy at playing the guitar.” With a growth mindset, skills are something you grow and develop. So, “I have a lot to learn about playing the guitar.”
We wondered how might digital portfolios encourage a growth mindset? Peter Briggs, a music educator in Tacoma WA, designed a differentiated portfolio system that spanned all four years his students were in his class. The system allowed his students to be self-directed through the curriculum so that as they progressed through the curriculum they were continually challenged.
Peter shared what he discovered about how digital portfolios uniquely encourage a growth mindset:
With differentiated eportfolios, Peter found that the students at the top felt challenged and the students at the bottom didn’t become discouraged. To sum up using Peter’s words, “I was astounded by the visible student growth I saw over the process of three to four years of using an e-portfolio. That evidence-based record of mastery was phenomenal.”