Research

Report: Using Ed Tech to Boost Development of Social-Emotional Learning Skills

Educational technology can help students develop social and emotional learning (SEL) skills such as collaboration, communication and problem solving, which are critical factors for success in the 21st century job market, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum, prepared in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group.

The report, "New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology," identifies the benefits of social and emotional learning skills, best practices in SEL and factors holding back adoption of SEL technology. It also offers suggestions for promoting social and emotional learning technologies in schools.

According to the report, a 2011 meta-analysis of 213 studies involving more than 270,000 K-12 students "found that SEL could promote a host of academic, social and emotional benefits for students" and "students who received SEL instruction had achievement scores that averaged 11 percentile points higher than those who did not." These findings indicate the importance of development of social and emotional learning skills to students.

The World Economic Forum and the Boston Consulting Group surveyed more than 2,000 educators and parents from around the world and found that while most of them see the potential for educational technology to develop social and emotional skills in students, they did not know which technologies to use or how best to use them. The researchers also assessed education technology products and developed a list of learning strategies and technology features that are critical to promoting the development of social and emotional learning skills.

Based on their findings, the researchers developed a list of three opportunities for using education technology to foster the development of SEL skills in children;

  • Help educators understand what really boosts SEL using the report's list of 55 product features that correlate to the development of SEL skills;
  • Embed SEL into education technology products that support foundational skills such as literacy and numeracy; and
  • Take advantage of technology trends such a wearable devices, mobile apps, virtual reality, analytics and machine learning and affective computing to foster SEL.

The full report is available as a free, downloadable PDF from The Boston Consulting Group's site.

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at leilameyer@gmail.com.

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