While Going All Tech are We Leaving Behind the Social & Emotional Growth?


Often people say that text conversation over smart devices feels rude.

And I believe that as there is lack of expression and tone which definitely makes the exchange of information expressionless. Going technical and diving into the race of getting ready for the future jobs makes me intrigue over the fact will kids of today be fit to get into the jobs of tomorrow if they are not going to be fit emotionally and socially.

Dr. Michelle Zimmerman @mrzphd talks about social emotional learning and education technology. With insights on everything from Minecraft, to digital inking, to common mistakes made with technology and SEL. She says, “There are studies that have indicated that even if you’ve gotten kids to be able to dialogue and converse in person and work through some of those differences, that same dialogue doesn’t work the same when it’s over a technological device.”

We never forget to cite futuristic predictions about the uncertainty of the tomorrow’s world and how students today need to pace up to be tomorrow ready as they are bound to lose many jobs due to automation. This does call for students to up skill on many levels but one important question that is being ignored on all levels is that while racing to compete for tomorrow, are we ignoring the social and emotional growth of the students. The importance of SEL can’t be ignored as it these skills helps one in every sphere of life as well as throughout life.

The core of SEL is human touch. Though technology can help by paving ways to collaborate with people across the globe; but the source of this learning remains in the person to person interaction. This is because it is unlikely to become a part of the communication when you deal with people virtually. Virtually you don’t get to learn the skills of communication with others and motivate them. One key reason for this is that the interpersonal human interaction and human interaction with computer differs on every level. You may be able to communicate the information, facts, stats but one cannot engage with senses virtually. It is essential for young children to communicate with humans in real time to develop social and emotional skills. Social relationships in the digital realm appear to be less intimate and easily severed.

Creating an environment of genuine belonging & inclusion among our Ss (w/o exception) is the most likely way to foster "buy-in" to accept and meet the social norms of the school/classroom community. Fostering such an environment must be done deliberately by adults EVERYDAY! #SEL

— SocialEmotionalLearning (@SELearningEDU) April 24, 2018

Other reasons for placement of humans at the core of social emotional learning is that ideally machines are not made for tasks that require skills such as creativity, curiosity, leadership and negotiation. The availability of machines may help in the betterment of resources or get a better learning as well as pave ways to get motivation and encouragement for struggling students. In this whole process they can be the reason behind the betterment of communication skills and perseverance that students may learn but in no way they could help to develop problem solving skills. It is clear because situations and tasks that require creativity and critical thinking have been difficult to automate.

What makes social and emotional skills so important is that they are human skills in that they help us to work with each other and to overcome the challenges we face. Though technology may complement these skills (such as by connecting people across vast distances), it is hard to conceive of how it could become central to acquiring these skills. Rather than a technology-first approach, we should maintain a people-driven approach that focuses on how educators, parents, and peers can build students’ capacity in these important domains.

At the same time we must address the importance of technology and the ways it can help us and students in better development by paving the ways to connect as well as helping in the access to better resources. Technology will always be a part of the process but never be the core to SEL.

What’s your take on the social emotional growth of kids? Where do you see technology in this aspect and how much do you agree with the opinion stated above?

Watch this video and shoot your thoughts in the comment section below.  

Social and Emotional Learning Explained: How SEL Helps Students in College, Career and Life from American Institutes for Research on Vimeo.

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About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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