How might teachers use education technology to teach holistically?
There is no denying we have come a long way when it comes to emphasizing the fundamental importance of social and emotional learning. We now consider social emotional learning (SEL) a necessary skill set that students need in order to synthesize complex information and make connections with their own interests and passions. SEL is also an essential skill set when it comes to helping students manage their emotions, setting and achieving goals, and acting as exemplar 21st century citizens.
Teachers now have an abundance of tools to track and promote SEL in school. Apps like ClassDojo, LiveSchool, Kahoot, and Teachers Assistant Pro help teachers promote SEL skills both within and outside of the classroom. Unfortunately, these apps act as stand-alone tools and further force teachers to juggle multiple applications to teach the whole child. Most of these applications do not include an academic component, which, for example, could lead students to think that “time management” might not be as important of a skill as solving linear equations.
To remedy this problem, teachers must look for apps that can accommodate student needs from both an academic and SEL standpoint. Once such app is Kiddom, a free collaborative learning tool that supports teachers in integrating academic skills and SEL expectancies in daily assignments. Kiddom's platform comes pre-loaded with national and state standards, as well as five SEL competencies authored by CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. The best part about Kiddom is that if you have your own standards, skills, or competencies, you are free to import them into Kiddom and align them to the assignments you share. This means you are not limited to aligning your assignments with the pre-loaded standards - you can write and track your own!
If a student exhibits exceptional writing skills on a research paper they submit late, does it make sense to diminish their grade on the paper? Does marking five or ten points off equip the student with meaningful feedback? If this assignment were created and shared using Kiddom, a teacher would be able to append both academic and SEL skills, and then be able to evaluate the student’s writing and time management skills separately. This would help the student comprehend that while their written assignment was excellent, they need to work on their time management skills. Making students aware of their behaviors in the school environment can help shift poor habits and transform them into developing positive working routines. We believe this is where Kiddom really stands out: allowing teachers to teach the whole child.
This is true for any subject or content area. For example, in science class, students often listen or read the works or arguments of others. They decide whether they make sense, and can ask useful questions to clarify or improve the arguments. These students can and should be evaluated from both a scientific and an SEL perspective. Can they understand their peers’ perspectives to effectively interpret their arguments (SEL: social awareness)? Can they listen actively to further explore their peers’ arguments (SEL: relationship skills)? Arriving at the correct answer or using an acceptable strategy should be evaluated using academic standards, while everything else can and should be evaluated using SEL competencies.
When it comes to planning curriculum, creating lessons, and sharing assessments, and analyzing student achievement, Kiddom is a one-stop shop! The platform even connects directly with many top-notch curricula and content providers. Some of the resources available include Khan Academy, Newsela, and IXL Learning. A simple download can give students access to specific materials that have been handpicked by the teacher. This feature enables teachers to download the best content accessible on the web, making resources limitless. Another premium feature is that teachers can easily switch up learning modalities between gameplay, quizzes, multimedia or written assignments with just a click. Navigating the application is incredibly easy once you have mastered the initial introduction phase. Tip: those gray boxes for subject, resources, and standards have a multitude of choices so scroll down. Bonus: you can even search for content that aligns with the standard you are working on! There are also options to personalize and add remedial assignments to those who may need it along with challenges for the advanced.
This holistic approach to assessment ensures that when students receive feedback on their assignments, they receive it in a way that equips them with the information they need to improve upon their academic skills as well as work habits. Kiddom’s app provides teachers with a simple way to easily integrate SEL into daily academics, without making students feel like they are two separate things. To teach the whole child, 21st century teachers must adequately prepare students not only for college and career, but also to be able to collaborate with others, maintain healthy relationships, and develop strong, positive identities.
P.S. The Kiddom team collaborated with teachers to author a free PD resources for teachers interested in learning how to incorporate SEL into their practice. Download it here.