Published 18 June 2021
The biggest trend in academics is engaging students in social-emotional learning. Technology can help facilitate learning to develop these key life skills.
Successful adults start as successful students. Now that there is a growing amount of research supporting the importance of social skills and emotional intelligence in determining success, it is changing how we teach kids in school.
One of the biggest drivers of embracing SEL in the classroom is the ease of use that modern technology provides. In a learning world dominated by podcasts, video, game-based learning, and instant-response apps — technology bridges the gap in implementing meaningful SEL activities.
Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) is the development of soft skills like collaboration, teamwork, and communication. Employers value these skills because they are much more difficult to teach than job task processes. Job candidates that have well-developed SEL skills have more compassion and empathy and stronger, more positive relationships.
We have always taught foundational life skills starting in early childhood settings, all the way through post-secondary education. Think about skills like sharing, making friends, and raising hands in the classroom. But today, backed by research, we turn the dial up on SEL-focused curriculum because these skills influence nearly every facet of personal and professional life.
SEL in the classroom focuses on developing skills like:
The most obvious benefit of developing SEL skills is the positive impact on academic performance in the short term, but the reach of benefits from a curriculum focused on developing these skills is much greater.
One of the major areas that SEL focuses on is developing positive feelings about oneself and those around them. These feelings have a positive effect on intrinsic motivation to work hard and perform better. Students who are motivated to complete assignments and engage in learning get better grades and better opportunities.
These achievements are the building blocks for landing good jobs and building successful careers, which are common barometers for success in adulthood. The perks don't stop there. Students who develop strong social-emotional skills build greater resilience to endure the natural hardships in life and the focus on positive emotions, like kindness and compassion, leads to greater self-confidence and happier thoughts.
Key benefits of SEL-based curricula on students include things like:
Now that we have covered all of the amazing benefits of incorporating SEL in the classroom—both in the short and long term—let's talk about some specific ways that teachers can help their students.
Every student in the classroom is an individual, and we all thrive from building personal connections. It can help to check in with students on a one-on-one basis. It can be as simple as asking how they are feeling today; just make sure to push for honest answers.
Make kindness a central theme in your classroom. Read stories about kindness to find teachable moments—further the discussion by drawing on real-life examples. And encourage participation with classroom activities like random acts of kindness and thank you letter challenges.
Use role-playing activities to talk about feelings, help students recognize and express feelings, and teach dialogue for healthy conversations. These activities are really important to help combat behaviors like bullying that are common in school settings.
As we learn more about the power of an SEL-based curriculum, the prospect of actively shaping the futures of students becomes exciting. There are dozens of creative ways to teach SEL skills with technology. From game-based learning to apps and tools that promote collaboration, technology in the classroom can be a good thing.
Audio and visual support technology is more seamless than ever. Teachers can reach students with minor learning disabilities or students outside of the classroom by using these tools. Software that captures screen movements and records lectures puts material in an on-demand format that is easier to customize to different types of learners.
And where there is technology, there is data to compile, track, and analyze. One simple way that technology improves SEL in the classroom is by providing a simple app interface for students to log their feelings so that teachers can accurately judge the classroom's needs on any given day.
There is a lot of technology available, and achieving a solid return on investment is critical. How do you know where the best investments are to achieve classroom SEL goals?
Children are still developing, including their auditory skills and the supportive brain development that allows them to interpret language. Many classrooms are full of chitter-chatter and distracting background noises. Amplifying voice communications in a classroom can help bridge the gap and keep all students more engaged. Student mics also help to foster participation and confidence.
Apps like Class Dojo and Google Classroom allow teachers and students to communicate on performance and expectations. Game-like features that allow students to earn points for completing activities help bolster motivation and engagement. The real-time feedback improves communication while providing a central command center to build community.
As we have fully embraced virtual learning in the last few years, many teachers and students recognize the need for high-quality tech in the classroom. The tools to create dynamic virtual lessons are available. Video cameras such as the FrontRow LessonCam are designed and optimized for instruction and integrated software that captures classroom video and screen recordings help make virtual learning more immersive effective. Teachers no longer need to be in the same room to make meaningful connections with their students.
Social-emotional learning is key to building success at any age. Young learners can develop good habits at a young age — before bad habits are ingrained in behavior. Early successes build confidence, which encourages motivation to create more success. SEL fuels a positive cycle that continues to positive results, and technology has quickly become a major vehicle for delivering high-impact SEL lessons that help teachers and students connect deeply for effective learning.
Front Row provides immersive classroom technology that can help bring students and teachers together to achieve more, both in person and in hybrid learning formats. Contact us today to learn more about how technology can help your students!