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I have found this short TED Talk and it sparked my interest. I think it is examining one of the fundamental dilemmas that educators are facing in increasingly reactive world.

Question of delayed gratification was brought to my attention by our vice-principle. It didn’t catch my attention then. Interest appeared during this course, I have tried to use nay and every string of technology in my classes. One of latest changes I’ve made was creation of spreadsheet-based application for organizing, calculating and visualizing students’ marks. It created a situation, when student can instantly see result of his work, as well as her current mark.

It appeared to be a successful way to encourage students. Anyone who worked in northern schools (not exclusively) knows how difficult it is to promote education among student. Many students do not see any value in education.

There are many reasons for it:

overall low education, clash of cultures, etc.

One of the reasons is more pronounced here: lack of role models created by low graduation rate and high dropout in universities, as well as reluctance to return after completing higher education.

So no regrets, it works. Although some “side effects” are visible already:

marks becoming an ultimate goal,

more “pragmatic” approach to knowledge (is it on the test?).

How will it affect my students in the future?

Any Ideas?



  1. Interesting video, I hadn’t seen this one. Thanks.

    As for ideas … I have many, but not sure if they are totally related. I worked in northern communities for 7 years, and I am aware of many of the cultural issues and issues of engagement and motivation. There is no easy solution, other than hard work in building relationships and trust. Of course, tech helps, but it’s not at the core in my mind.

  2. If completing assignments = marks, then isn’t school about getting marks?

  3. Great video, thanks for sharing.
    Certainly gives me something to think about with adults.
    Immediate gratification cannot be stopped, and is dependent on a person’s personality and brain structure. As well it is a central part of our society – think fast food drive throughs – there is no getting around it.
    So, I guess that you students will be fine.

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