Special Report
Classroom Technology

Eighth Graders Use Web App to Identify Their Character Strengths

By Alexa J. Henry — October 18, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Allison Miller, a 13-year-old at Deer Park Junior/Senior High School logged on to the Happify platform to get what school officials hope will be a revealing picture of her character strengths.

What it showed: a strong capacity for creativity, humor, humility, forgiveness, and gratitude.

Allison was just one of the students at the Cincinnati school using the web platform, which uses a survey and generates five core character strengths from a list of 24 character traits. In a number of cases, students said it confirmed some of their own impressions of themselves.

"[Happify] explains the strengths and you could say, ‘Yes, that’s me,’ ” she said.

Austin Moore, an 8th-grader like Allison, also got insights into his core character strengths through Happify. They included creativity, hope, humility, forgiveness and gratitude. “I knew these were my core strengths before the survey,” he said. “I definitely thought they were for me.”

The 13-year-olds noted that Happify helps them approach their classes with a more positive, hopeful attitude; in particular, it provides positive words students can then use to express themselves. For example, during a game called Uplift, students view positive and negative words written across hot air balloons. The objective of the game is to click only on the positive words, such as “secure,” “joy,” “radiant,” “unity,” “serenity,” and “boost.”

“You get points when you click on the positive words,” explained Austin. “Each time you play a game, the bar fills up with more points.”

The students say they enjoy using Happify and don’t find it difficult to navigate. “I think it’s easy to use and it’s fun because some of the games are stress relievers,” said Allison. “You have to pick out which ones you’re stressing about, and it helps you to get rid of the stress.”

She compared the Happify game Negative Knockout with the popular app Angry Birds.

The students also agreed that the tool helps them tackle more challenging subjects, such as language arts. “When I go into class, I can use things from Happify, all the different words and positivity,” Allison said. “Instead, I might end up liking what we’re doing.”

Austin said that some of the positive words such as “hopefulness” help him approach tougher school assignments with a better outlook. “It helps me get through it, and I want to try to do my best at it,” he said.

Each activity also includes information explaining the science behind the particular activity, Austin pointed out. “It teaches you different things about the website, why this is helping, why it’s in there, and what it does,” he said.

Coverage of the implementation of college- and career-ready standards and the use of personalized learning is supported in part by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.
A version of this article appeared in the October 19, 2016 edition of Education Week as Middle School Students Test Out Happify

Events

Assessment Webinar The State of Assessment in K-12 Education
What is the impact of assessment on K-12 education? What does that mean for administrators, teachers and most importantly—students?
Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Why Retaining Education Leaders of Color Is Key for Student Success
Today, in the United States roughly 53 percent of our public school students are young people of color, while approximately 80 percent of the educators who lead their classrooms, schools, and districts are white. Racial
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Quiz
Quiz Yourself: How Much Do You Know About Going From Makeshift to Modern?
Answer 4 questions to find out how much you know about going makeshift to modern.
Content provided by HP
Classroom Technology Spotlight Spotlight on Interactive Technology
This Spotlight will help you consider what changes are on the horizon with the metaverse, parent privacy concerns, and virtual SEL options.
Classroom Technology Schools Are Battling Tech Fatigue. How Are They Responding?
Blended learning—a mix of face-to-face and online instruction—is declining in popularity, a Christensen Institute survey shows.
2 min read
Conceptual image of an in-person classroom in front of a virtual class
Bet Noire/iStock
Classroom Technology Opinion How Schools Can Stem the Toxic Tide of Technology
Students' relationships, motivation, mood, sleep, and safety—all are at risk, writes researcher Andy Hargreaves.
Andy Hargreaves
5 min read
Illustration of girl using computer
Yulia Sutyagina/iStock/Getty Images Plus<br/>