To thrive in the 21st century, students need more than traditional academic learning. They must be adept at collaboration, communication and problem-solving, which are some of the skills developed through social and emotional learning (SEL). Coupled with mastery of traditional skills, social and emotional proficiency will equip students to succeed in the swiftly evolving digital economy.
The advantage of SEL
The kinds of skills that SEL addresses, such as problem- solving and collaboration, are increasingly necessary for the labour market. According to one estimate, 65% of children entering grade school will ultimately work in jobs that don’t exist today, putting creativity, initiative and adaptability at a premium. Another study shows that jobs are increasingly social-skills-intensive. SEL will prepare today’s students for this evolving workplace, with consequent benefits for individuals, businesses, the economy and society. SEL confers academic success as well. A meta-analysis of 213 studies showed that students who received SEL instruction had achievement scores that averaged 11 percentile points higher than those who did not. And SEL potentially leads to long-term bene ts such as higher rates of employment and educational attainment.
These valuable social and emotional skills can be developed at any point in a child’s life, although it can be highly effective to introduce SEL early and embed it in the core curriculum throughout a child’s schooling. Research suggests that early childhood is a critical period for attaining important skills – and also that augmenting such early learning at later ages is necessary, complementary and effective. Social and emotional skills can be taught in classrooms or at home but SEL is most potent if developed in both settings.
Three key opportunities to use technology to advance SEL
– Capitalize on what works. Parents, educators and caregivers can bene t from existing “ed-tech” products with features that already promote SEL. Standards based on SEL-related features can help identify products with the potential to have the greatest impact on teaching social and emotional skills.
– Embed SEL into foundational ed-tech products. Creatively embedding SEL features into products that support foundational academic skills such as literacy and numeracy can extend SEL to areas where the vast majority of investment is already owing.
– Expand the realm of the possible. Innovative new technologies – such as wearable devices, virtual
reality and apps – can enable students to master important social and emotional skills. Not only do these technologies embrace and extend tried-and-true ways of fostering SEL, they offer potential for exciting new learning strategies.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology