The Importance of Social-Emotional Learning in the Classroom

Eleanor Kennedy Blog, Special Ed

A student may know her 12 times tables, be perfect at reciting the alphabet of a second language, or have full knowledge of a river’s features, but one of the most important lessons a student can benefit from in the classroom is her social-emotional learning (SEL). Social and emotional learning is the process of developing and using the skills, attitudes, and knowledge that help youth and adults to identify and regulate emotions. In turn, the knowledge gained from SEL could help young people to develop positive relationships and make responsible decisions. This message was presented recently at the annual MassCUE conference at Gillette Stadium. Research clearly shows that integrating SEL into school life is good for both students and teachers. In fact, it is estimated that SEL improves student achievement by an average of 11 percentile points, while also increasing prosocial behaviors (such as kindness, sharing, and empathy), improving student attitudes toward school, and reducing depression and stress among students. This is something that is key to many educators’ teaching, including Dr Ruha Benjamin of Princeton University. Dr Benjamin, who is  professor of African American studies and author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier, delivered the key note at the 2017 MassCUE Fall Conference which was attended by the 30hands team. She spoke passionately about the importance of social and emotional awareness among students, in particular with regard to people’s cultural backgrounds. One particular point Dr Benjamin regularly pushes is the idea that race is socially constructed while asking how …

If At First You Don’t Succeed – Try, Try Again

Eleanor Kennedy Blog, Iterative Creativity

It’s a proverb made popular in the 1800s, one that can be applied to many of life’s disciplines. But, it has to be noted how fitting it is that the famous saying, which acts as a piece of advice to those facing adversity, was made famous by an educational writer (William Edward Hickson). Iteration is a huge part of a student’s learning experience. It’s foolish to think skills can be perfected and knowledge obtained at first deliverance. Yes, the speed at which knowledge is retained depends on the person. One student might have to recite their multiplication tables twice before they are memorized, while another student recites them five times. But what is important to remember is that each time you make a mistake, you’re a step closer to getting it right. One would suggest this is a startup culture, and perhaps it is. According to Edutopia, many educators that seek to incorporate design thinking and collaborative processes into teaching and learning are looking to the unique culture exemplified by startup companies. They say that by embracing these business models for learning, teachers somewhat become entrepreneurs themselves as they take on a DIY spirit and transform the process of constructing meaning and searching for knowledge. By choosing this startup culture, these educators and their courses (listed on this website) are essentially placing a renewed focus on the role of the learner by enabling them to search for solutions to their problems through design activities and iteration. At 30hands, this is preached …

Spaced Learning and its Value in Teaching

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

What is Spaced Learning? Spaced Learning is a pretty new learning method. It was first developed in 2008 by Dr Paul Kelley, a neuroscientist who was at the time investigating methods for long-term memory retention. In theory, spaced learning is when you condense learning content and repeat it three times, with two 10-minute breaks during which distractor activities (such as physical activities) are performed by the students. While this methodology is very unique, its ending is a common goal shared by teachers throughout the world – that is for students to retain knowledge long-term. So does Spaced Learning have a place in classrooms and workplaces? That’s something we will explore throughout this article. One thing we do know as educators is that effective long-term learning is rarely achieved by a one-off event, but according to the Association for Talent Development (ATD), designers all too often think about one-off events when building training solutions. This means that it is very likely for students to forget a lesson as soon as it ends. This problem isn’t new. In fact, it was first spotted by Hermann Ebbinghaus in 1885. He discovered that we as people do not only have a learning curve, but a forgetting curve where we lose what we learn if the information is not used regularly. So let’s try an experiment. If I give you a list of nonsense three letter words right now, how long do you think you will remember them? Ebbinghaus did this exact experiment more than …

Molding a Musician: 30hands Tips from a Music Teacher

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

“Lots of my shy students have started to become emboldened to sing louder and with more confidence as they’ve had chances to hear what they sound like.” These are the words of Kerrie French, a music teacher at Conant School in Acton, MA. Kerrie has credited technology and 30hands with bringing out the best in her students and strengthening their confidence, be it in performance or academically. She said: “With the older students, the more academic-oriented projects have allowed those who struggle with singing or other musical skills to find other ways to contribute and shine in my classroom. It has also motivated some of the older students to be more active participants in group-work because they all want to use the iPads to create the slides. “It can sometimes leads to arguments,” she chuckled, “but learning how to work well in a group is a very important and life-long skill.” Project-based learning is something the 30hands team encourages and sees great benefit in. Kerrie first heard about 30hands from her district’s educational technology specialist, Peggy Harvey, who taught a professional development class on digital storytelling. She played around with it and noted it was a quick and easy way for her students to record themselves singing. Granted they needed some help from some managed it services st. louis to get the recording going, but they’ve recorded themselves just fine. As a music teacher, she says, it can be hard to share what goes on in her classroom with families outside of performances. Kerrie saw …

Learning and Staff Development in an Age of On-Demand

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

We live in a world where demand and expectations drive quality of living, or at least what we perceive to be quality. Missed last night’s episode of Game of Thrones? No worries (okay, except for the danger of spoilers). You can literally speak into your remote control and your television will catch you up. Want to know the weather forecast for the next week? Siri will have your answer in a matter of seconds. Our expectations are growing dramatically with each passing year as a result of this desire for immediate delivery of what we want. The on-demand culture has not only affected our home life but our professional lives, too. Today’s workforce is expected to be immediately productive on everything needed for the job. But is this realistic? How are we supposed to be 100% knowledgeable when each release of a product has a whole new batch of features and functionality? Often, the user interface and UX are dramatically changed. The reality is that the rapidly changing nature of technology is in conflict with our on-demand desires. We want everything now, but we can’t have that, since everything changes too quickly. To meet this demand, we need to have ways to teach and learn more quickly. Company hierarchies must be willing to encourage learning and development within their workforce to truly get the best possible results from staff. What do you mean when you say, “learning and development”? Learning and development is exactly what you think it is. It’s a way …

Back to School Teacher Tips with 30hands

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again, but time seems to go so fast these days. The summer has come and gone. Teachers are getting their lesson plans ready, students are getting their supplies, and both are preparing to surpass a number of important milestones over the next academic year. It’s an exciting time, when possibilities seem to be infinite and goals unlimited. Over the next 9 months or so, teachers will bond with their students and create a permanent impression on not only their learning, but their lives. If you’re a teacher preparing to head back into the classroom, or perhaps your district’s school year is already underway, we’ve  decided to give you a few tips to make this year the most rewarding yet. Happy teaching, and learning! Set clear objectives. This will not only be useful for you as a teacher, but your students too. With each grade a student enters, their knowledge and capabilities are expected to grow. Set some objectives on your first day back in the classroom to keep both you and your students motivated.  Learn from your colleagues. Often times, the best way to develop professionally is to talk to your colleagues. Each teacher has his or her own ways of engaging students and delivering content. Whether your colleague has 20+ years experience in the classroom or is just starting out, it can be hugely beneficial to pick their brains for teaching methods, and also share your own ideas! One way …

How to Make Training Stick: A 30hands Lesson

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

Studies show that only 10% of skills presented to employees during training sessions are retained after 6 months. The reasons for this is something we have already discussed here and here. It’s a frustrating reality for the corporate trainer but how do we incite change to ensure that our workforces are more productive than they were yesterday, more in line with company policies, and perhaps most importantly, happier in their job? It’s all about commitment, from the very top down to the trainer and trainee. It would be virtually impossible for any company to successfully train its staff without the support of its highest representative. According to TrainingIndustry.com, this involves a commitment to change, and this doesn’t start with the employee being trained. It starts with leadership, for without the commitment of leadership, there can be no real change. But there must also be a commitment to execute, something which takes time, energy and insistence to adopt new beliefs. And then there’s the commitment of time. New beliefs, behaviors, skills and competencies take time to develop – more time than most people believe is necessary. No matter how good the training is, the actual acquisition of competencies is not gained in a single training. Those competencies are gained in the field, over time. This last point is perhaps the most important. The ease and ability to revisit training, as well as meaningful follow-up assessment is perhaps the key to retained skills. With 30hands video, this is possible while ensuring vital company …

30hands Team Showcases at New LearnLaunch Workspace

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

The 30hands Learning team recently attended LearnLaunch’s Summer Showcase event at their workspace in Boston, MA. It was a wonderful event which offered some of the most exciting EdTech up-and-comers the opportunity to exhibit their products and ideas, as well as a chance to connect with those of like-minded interests, interests which mainly revolved around a passion to better education and make tech resources available for more learners. As part of the showcase, exhibitors were given the opportunity to pitch their business in 60 seconds or less, a difficult but fun task for all involved. The 30hands pitch focused on our fast and easy video creation tools which put the power of learning back in the hands of students and ensure they better retain knowledge. 30hands Learning CEO and co-founder, Eric Braun, said: “We make it really easy for learners to create videos, whether it’s to tell a story, to train employees or customers, or to flip a classroom. In the fall, millions of students are going to say ‘wow! I can’t believe I passed that test. I didn’t study enough.’ The teachers are going to say, ‘I don’t really know if they understand the material or not.’ If they create a video to explain a concept, they dig deeper and they will be able to prove through the video that they really learned the content. “At the same time if you’re training employees, customers or students, you’re going to get your message across more powerfully through video. We make …

Video Training and Millennials: The Perfect Match?

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

“Let’s just stay in and watch Netflix”. How many times have we heard, or said, these words? Netflix, and indeed many other streaming sites, have become household names. They are how people pass the time, especially those who grew up in the early 21st century experiencing the rise of YouTube, Facebook, and other similar websites. But millennials aren’t just watching cat videos (sorry Olive!). They are now choosing to learn through online video, whether they realize it or not. Documentaries, quiz shows, TV shows… They all play a role in the ways in which these people now gain knowledge. With millennials now taking up a large percentage of today’s workforce, the opportunity of video in the office is perhaps bigger than ever. In fact, according to the Census Bureau, there are more than 80 million millennials living in the US, and other statistics show that their craving for online video as a preferred communication channel is growing.   This means the opportunity for video in corporate training is huge, as we have discussed before. It is even estimated that millennials spend 50 percent more time watching online video than TV. It’s clear that online video possesses an emotional power, so just how much more productive would a millennial worker be if they are trained through this medium?  We have already found out that corporate training costs the US economy approximately 70 billion dollars per year, with just a 10 percent skills retention rate. Why? Because of un-engaging training methods and a lack of …

Digital Storytelling and ISTE Standards for Teachers

Eleanor Kennedy Blog

With ISTE 2017 a matter of days away, we here at 30hands Learning have decided to explore the ways in which digital storytelling fits ISTE’s standards. We have already took a look at the organization’s student standards. We’ve also discussed the benefits of getting Enrolled Agent credentials and how they serve the future. So now, we move on to the teachers. Digital storytelling is a captivating way for teachers to share their knowledge, and there is a wide variety of great apps out there that make this easy in the classroom. So if you’re a teacher on the edge about digital storytelling, read on and hopefully we can give you the push you need! Enjoy! Standard 1: Facilitate and inspire student learning creativity Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Through digital storytelling, teachers can promote student creativity and learning through assigned projects for an individual or group. Digital storytelling is a magnificent tool for innovative thinking and inventiveness. Teachers can encourage students to explore real-world issues and create their own digital stories on topics of their choice. As well as this, teachers can facilitate creative learning by encouraging students to work with their peers, thus testing the ways in which they use digital tools in groups. Standard 2: Design and develop digital age learning experiences and assessments Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessments incorporating contemporary tools and …