Individual devices support socio-emotional learning in the classroom
Teachers can use programs, accessible through individual devices, to help students regulate their emotions, solve problems, develop social and personal awareness, and reconnect with their friends. Each of these are CASEL core competencies for socio-emotional learning. School-provided Chromebooks also introduce students to collaborative computer-based learning, which supports social and emotional intelligence as students work to collectively achieve goals.
“Cooperative or collaborative learning requires individuals to be self-aware,” says Mark Sparvell, director of marketing training at Microsoft. “And self-awareness requires that you be able to accurately recognize, understand, and label your emotions.”
Mobile devices open the door to personalized online learning opportunities, where students can practice their social and emotional skills while developing their academic skills. GoGuardian, producer of many such programs, cites McGraw-Hill Connect, GSuite, and Microsoft 365 as “excellent examples of social-emotional learning technology.” More narrowly specialized examples include Minecraft: Education Edition’s The Mindful Knight, which introduces students to mindfulness for self-awareness, coping skills, and self-management.
Socio-emotional learning technologies can be divided into two categories: those that promote collaborative learning and those that monitor the socio-emotional well-being of students.
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Socio-emotional learning technology for collaborative learning
Products such as GoGuardian’s Pear Deck or Microsoft Teams offer breakout rooms, which can be used on student devices to foster collaborative learning and help students develop coping skills, emotional awareness and empathy through personalized learning experiences.
“Every Pear Deck lesson,” says Gordon, “begins with a simple recording: ‘How are you feeling today?’ Pear Deck’s SEL checks help teachers assess students’ emotional well-being. Educators can follow up with positive feedback in real time, chat with the student, or even call them after the lesson ends.
Sparvell cites tools that use video environments to practice open communication, as well as Minecraft, which provides experiential learning opportunities to resolve conflict, collaborate, and make responsible decisions.
Teachers have found creative and collaborative uses for other tools available to them, such as using Google Sites to create virtual escape rooms. These require students to work together to solve problems, which promotes their socio-emotional growth.
Socio-emotional technology to monitor student well-being
Then there are products like GoGuardian’s Beacon that analyze online activity in real time and help teachers monitor student well-being through individual devices provided by the school. This app and other SEL apps act as suicide or self-harm prevention tools while monitoring student online behavior.
Beacon monitors individual devices for activities of concern and notifies responders if students appear likely to pose a threat to themselves. Another program, Impero Wellbeing, proactively detects and treats mental health issues, says Kaitlin Trujillo, key account manager at Impero Software.
Aperture Education offers SEL school assessments that can be completed individually on a student’s device in a fun format. The organization’s DESSA student self-report allows students to “explore their SEL-related responses, identify their strengths and growth opportunities, and create a personalized growth plan through strategies based on research and personalized SMART goals, ”explains Christine Nicodemus, Aperture Education Product Manager. “All of this is done within a gamified, mobile-friendly software platform. “