Breaking the Mold: Using Technology to Help Introverts Share Their Thoughts in School

If a child can’t learn the way we teach,

maybe we should teach the way they learn.

~ Ignacio Estrada ~

Have you ever wished that your shy student would break out of his or her shell? You know they have some great thoughts, but they don’t share them with anyone. What about the shy teacher who might have more to offer to colleagues? Are there ways to enhance communication and collaboration? (Breaking the Mold)
How to care for Introverts

Design by Becky

#ECOO13 is coming up soon, and I am thrilled to have the chance to talk about the benefits that technology provides for introverted students and educators.  My friend, Jenni Scott-Marciski, will be presenting with me (thank goodness!), and we hope to share some resources, stories, and ways to help introverts “break the mold”.

What i think, What i say.

Image courtesy of Mohamed Ghonemi

So, what does it mean to be introverted?  Linda Kreger Silverman provides the following definition:

Introverts are oriented inward toward the subjective world of thoughts and concepts; they get their energy from inside themselves; and they are inclined toward reflection. Extraverts are oriented outward, become energized through interaction with people and things, and are directed toward action. Whereas introverts feel drained by too much interaction with people, extraverts are energized by interaction—the more, the merrier.  *Excerpted from Silverman, L. K. (2013). Giftedness 101. New York, NY: Springer.

Before moving on, I should clarify that shyness is not the same as being introverted.  Tony Baldasaro wrote an article for Edutopia, explaining it this way:

The key is how your student re-energizes. If she does so by being with others, she’s an extrovert. If she does so by being alone, she’s introverted. It’s important to realize, however, that introverts are not always shy, and extroverts can be shy.

Susan Cain inspired much of the work that Jenni and I have prepared.  Her book, Quiet, contains a wealth of information, insight and resources to help understand those who may not be as vocal as others.

introverted party

Image courtesy of Anne Emond

How do we enable our students to share their thoughts with others?  How do we help them to take advantage of their strengths without making them cringe at the thought of interacting with others?

I write better than i talk

Image via April’s Pin

Since introverts like having time to process information before they share it, writing can be a helpful tool.  To help them widen their horizons, try blogging with your students . Blogging provides an opportunity for students to build their confidence as they get used to sharing their ideas with other people.

 I can’t explain exactly what it is about blogging that allows me to think a bit differently, and possibly to think a bit more.  I could liken it to the way an artist nurtures an idea: from a simple thought that is slowly and carefully processed, it brews in my mind while I am busy doing other things, and I can see my idea from a variety of perspectives.

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 7.42.32 PM

Click to listen to a student explain the benefits of blogging

Some other helpful tools:

VoiceThread — A program/app that allows you to capture images on your screen & comment (text or voice) on content.  Helpful for presentations and collaborative work!

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 7.54.27 PM

Screenr — If you want to capture activity on your screen while discussing what you see, try experimenting with Screenr.  Very user-friendly!

Screen Shot 2013-10-19 at 7.57.50 PM

App Suggestions:

  • Tricia Fuglestad recommends Socrative, “a way to poll, quiz or respond in class via iPads” (or any device with a web browser)
  • Theresa McGee recommends Padlet, which can be used on computers & iPads, and provides an interactive wall on which students can collaborate.

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Students who seem timid and shy may just need a little help to share their voice.  You might be surprised by all they have to say!

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I was thankful for Jonathon Colman’s enlightening (and funny) presentation on introversion.  Enjoy his thoughts in the video below:

Additional Resources:

Are you an Introvert? via Business News Daily

Introvert?  Extrovert?  Tips for a Balanced Classroom by Shawn Thompson (p. 6-8)

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6 Responses to Breaking the Mold: Using Technology to Help Introverts Share Their Thoughts in School

  1. Pingback: Minds on Media about to start #ECOO2013 | Tech talk

  2. Pingback: #ECOO13: What a Rush! | Northern Art Teacher

  3. Dear Colleen,

    What a fabulous presentation and post! As an introvert myself, I am happy to see that the subject is being talked about. It is such an extrovert’s world, or so it seems sometimes. I was not familiar with Jonathon Colman, and I thoroughly enjoyed his Ignite talk!

    I see that you are an art teacher. I’d like to invite you and/or your students to participate in our third grade 365 Blog. I’m including a link to information about submitting. It is a great way to share and discuss the visual! We love to learn with our friends around the world.

    http://yollisclassblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/join-our-class-365-blog.html

    Happy blogging!

    ~Linda Y♥llis
    California

  4. colleenkr says:

    Thank you so much for your feedback, Linda! Yes, I’d love to participate in the 365 Blog! I’m looking forward to it. :)

  5. Pingback: You have an AMAZING idea! | Clawson's Bloggity

  6. Hi Colleen – great post!

    I wanted to share another tool that could really benefit introverted students: Narrable.com. It’s a storytelling platform for students to reflect on what they’ve learned in class. We found that video or formal presentations caused too much anxiety for introverted students. Narrable allows students to pause, reflect and then speak at their own pace.

    I hope you’ll find it to be a helpful tool.

    Full disclosure – I built Narrable so I’m a little biased. :)

    Be well!

    Dustin

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