The Class of 2019 – Social-Emotional Learning and Classroom Technology

Blog 2-

High IQ may get one a job, but EQ makes one a leader.

The educators have been grappling with this challenge of improving the quality of learning by integrating hard skills and soft skills in their curriculum. While knowledge can be passed on with the help of books and tests, soft skills, and life skills are difficult to teach. Can technology play a role in enhancing social-emotional learning? The answer is a loud, resounding ‘Yes’!

What is Social-Emotional Learning?

Social-emotional learning, widely known as SEL, is the process through which a learner is made to understand and manage emotions, feel, and show empathy towards others, manage relationships better and make responsible decisions. The key aspects of social-emotional learning include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision making.Researches show that social-emotional learning leads to higher academic achievements, improved overall behaviour, and better career prospects.

How can classroom technology aid SEL?

With technology becoming an integral part of education, there are several ways K-12 educators can ensure that they stitch SEL competencies into their courseware and make learning a more enriching and fruitful experience for the students. According to a study by Microsoft, three technologies stand out when it comes to social-economic learning:
Artificial Intelligence: In traditional learning, it was a herculean task for a teacher to personalize the teaching and training process and hence it was left to the students to cope up with the pace of the teacher. However, AI makes it possible to create customized and personalized offerings for every student as per one’s abilities, skills, and requirements. SEL competencies can be adjusted as per the skills that one needs to master. Also, AI can support the educators when it comes to corrections, tests, and assessments, thereby allowing more interaction-led time for the teacher for better more efficient teacher-student communication

Collaboration platforms: Children are no longer bound by geographical constraints in order to work on group projects. Various technology-led collaboration platforms allow students to work on the same project from their homes, thus making both students as well as teachers more comfortable with respect to group-based projects. Platforms like G-Suite and Office 365 facilitate such collaborations. A remarkable increase in academic performance has been observed in schools incorporating collaboration platforms in their pedagogy.

Mixed Reality: A combination of virtual and augmented reality is gradually making its way into the four walls of the classroom. In order to contextually create situations where a specific social-emotional skill set would be needed, contextual simulations can be created in a virtual environment. Students may then be able to visualize and feel better how a real-life scenario may look like and what would be the best way to react in such a scenario. Students can then put the practices learned during these sessions to practice when a similar situation arises in life.

Advancing social and emotional learning will require a conscious shift in our approach to academics. Holistic development of the generations to come will need dedicated effort from educators, tech-developers, policymakers, and parents to make SEL a lasting part of the education system.