Free Tech Tools Teach Social Emotional Learning in Classrooms

21st Century Skills

Free Tech Tools Teach Social Emotional Learning in Classrooms

from EverFi

By Jon Chapman     Nov 6, 2017

Free Tech Tools Teach Social Emotional Learning in Classrooms

Netflix’s "13 Reasons Why" depicts fictional characters reacting to weighty challenges they encounter within their everyday lives, but provides little guidance to young viewers about how to process or handle these issues, including suicide. The National Association of School Psychologists, in an unprecedented response, issued guidance to school mental health professionals across the country on how to discuss "13 Reasons," stating “there is concern in the way that the suicide is portrayed and the buildup to the suicide . . . could trigger suicide contagion or copycat behavior.”

Indeed, in a day and age ruled by unlimited data plans and on-demand television, it's impossible to separate the impact of the realities streaming on our digital screens from those in the real world. Whether a parent, teacher or family member, we have all come face to face with a young person who is struggling to identify how the images apply to real life challenges. We have a duty to consider whether our children are equipped to respond to the negative influences they encounter in the media, and must ask ourselves if young people are truly prepared to filter this exposure. The answer, of course, is not without adequate support. The way people consume media content has changed dramatically since we entered the Information Age. Studies confirm that young people who have grown up in this environment consume significantly more content than their older counterparts. If young people have reinvented how they interact with media, then we have a similar duty to update how they are taught to respond. The prevailing challenge has become how to teach young people to develop healthy relationships in a traditional learning environment within this digital age. Educators must rethink the way they teach important life skills and social issues to Generation Z. At EVERFI, we concluded that technology can and must be used to modernize this process and encourage adolescents to consider their social and emotional health from an early age. This was the inspiration behind the creation of Character Playbook, a partnership with United Way Worldwide and the NFL. The digital course reached 80,000 sixth through ninth grade students across nearly 1000 schools in all 32 NFL cities during the 2016-2017 school year. Students that used Character Playbook followed digital interactive scenarios that depict how to label and manage emotions, make smarter decisions, and intervene when they see someone in crisis. With more than 150,000 learning hours completed nationwide, students’ understanding of key social-emotional topics rose by an average 41 percent based on pre- and post-assessments.

Student testimonial about Character Playbook; source: EVERFI

Specifically, by the end of year one a majority of students say the course:

  • Made them more likely to believe they deserve to be treated with respect (74%)
  • Raised their expectations about how to treat others (70%)
  • Helped them identify actions they can take to treat people with respect (69%)
  • Defined the role they can play in resolving conflict (66%)

Regardless of their attitudes going into the course, students need to be adept in these areas to engage responsibly with their peers. By learning these techniques during this critical developmental stage, students will have a firm grasp of how to build healthy relationships as they enter their critical adolescent years.

— Character Playbook (@CharacterPlaybk) October 26, 2017

The New York Giants' Mark Herzlich

If it truly takes a village to raise a child, we must continue this discussion and invest in the emotional well-being of our young people so when they are confronted with the next popular show, app, or real-life scenario, they know the healthiest path forward.

Source: EVERFI; full size image here

Character Playbook ABCs

Course details:

Grade Levels • 6th - 9th
Course Time • 6 Modules (20 min. – 30 min. each)
• Total time 2 – 3 hours
Class Fit • Social Studies
• English
• Health
• Advisory
Teaching materials • Training resources and available one-on-one assistance
• Real-time student scores on a personal teacher dashboard
• Curriculum Guide with a detailed course outline
• Supplemental lesson plans
• Alignment guide with your state-specific standards
• Answer key for all course assessments
• Discussion guides
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