by Anya Warburg

MTWphoto.pngAs of 2010, approximately 4 million students were impacted by online learning components embedded into their daily curriculum, cementing blended learning principles in schools across the world – and that number is growing. Exponentially.

It is no secret that technology in the classroom has the ability to engage students like no other learning tool. Technology has become so ingrained in our society’s culture that students gravitate to the educational programs that have resulted from this growing accessibility to technology in schools.

But when you begin to place a stronger emphasis on social and emotional skills in your curriculum, a new question comes into play: how can emotional exploration and expression specifically function without a human being present to guide participants through challenges, ideas or stressful moments?

The fact is, emotional exploration and expression along with other components of Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) require participants to reflect and build trust with one another. From students to school leaders, this can be extremely difficult work, but when done effectively and expeditiously can lead to significant improvements in academic achievement and school climate. So in rephrasing the question, is it possible to implement SEL in the classroom through blended learning techniques?

The answer is yes: through bite-sized integration of emotional identification, expression, and management into our classrooms, virtually facilitated and practiced daily. Not only do children seem more willing to open up and connect to a video where the facilitator is not physically present, but the educators themselves are also benefitting from the fact that they do not need any special background in mental health.

Even better: teachers prefer it too. Ease of implementation is key; the relief of the pressure to lead and the ability to participate along with the students are a few other major factors in why we are seeing more and more teachers incorporating Blended Learning into their curriculum.

At Move This World (MTW), we equip educators and students with the tools to address their social and emotional wellbeing in order to create a healthy school climate where effective teaching and learning can occur. In addition to training and consultation, these tools provide a grade-specific virtual experience and make Social and Emotional Learning in every classroom as easy as pressing “play.”

Thankfully, we have had the pleasure of seeing the effects first-hand.

A few weeks ago in Baltimore, one of our trainers conducted a site visit and was immediately ambushed by smiling faces once they took notice of her Move This World T-shirt. Not only were they ready to show off their 10 Emogers, one of MTW’s emotional management strategies as part of our ritualized practice of SEL, but they were also curious as to where the “real” star was – Elliott, the lead in our virtual tool videos.

Elliott has become somewhat of a celebrity among our nationwide partner schools, allowing us to truly comprehend the strength of the program and the lasting effect daily practice truly has. And of course, it’s always fun to see the faces of hundreds of screaming kids when Elliott stops by for a surprise visit.

See Elliott in action in our virtual tool “The Shake Off” and be sure to join us for our free, upcoming webinar ‘Virtual Tools In The Classroom.”

For any questions, please feel free to reach the author, Anya Warburg, at awarburg@movethisworld.org.

 

Eager to learn more about character & technology? Join us for the 2016 National Forum on Character Education to take part in important discussions on digital citizenship, as well as a variety of other topics!

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