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Technology and the development of social and emotional skills

Emotional and social skills can be learned in different ways. Their development could, however, be enhanced by the characteristics of certain educational technologies.

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Emotional and social skills can be learned in different ways. Their development could, however, be enhanced by the characteristics of certain educational technologies.

This is one of the main assumptions of the recent report New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology published by the World Economic Forum. As part of the work that led to this conclusion, different sources of information were consulted, including research metadata and comments collected through surveys of teachers, school administrators and parents in different countries.

Emotional and social skills, such as adaptability, communication, creativity and persistence, are essential for students. This is particularly true in our time, when everyday life calls for a great deal of communication, social interaction and creativity.

According to experts, different educational activities and teaching methods are useful for the development of these skills. Fostering teamwork, using project-based learning and making teaching fun are examples. Using technology for educational purposes with this in mind would also be one way to participate.

What works in educational technology to develop emotional and social skills? According to this report, there are three main criteria to look for:

  • the technology that enables interactions;
  • technology which has a certain playful side;
  • technology that gives some feedback or a reward system.

For example, virtual role-playing games and strategy games, combining collaboration, playfulness and reward, are recommended applications according to the report. Existing applications, whether they target the development of advanced skills or that of simpler skills, would thus benefit from adding these functionalities to their characteristics. This would allow them, in addition to developing a specific disciplinary competence, such as mathematics, to participate in the development of social and emotional skills.

The report also presents barriers to integrating and teaching social and emotional skills and makes recommendations for education, technology, and parents. Check it out here.

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About the Author

Dominic Leblanc
Dominic leblanc
A graduate in sociology, Dominic Leblanc is an educational advisor in the Programs and Educational Development Department of the Cégep régional de Lanaudière in L'Assomption.

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