In this article, we discuss the benefits of VR Technology for socio-emotional learning. Socio-emotional learning (SEL) is a relatively new approach to teaching and learning that focuses on developing children’s social and emotional skills. It is an effective way to help students learn better, make friends more efficiently, and avoid behaviors that may cause problems in school. This article will explore what SEL is and the benefits of SEL. We’ll also explore how the most recent technology- VR technology- helps students with socio-emotional learning.
What is socio-emotional learning?
Socio-emotional Learning (SEL) refers to activities that develop children’s competence, self-awareness, relationships, values, and decision-making, leading to positive behavior results. In other words, it means learning the emotional skills they need to succeed in school and life.
Benefits of SEL
There are many benefits to teaching Social-Emotional Learning in the classroom that goes far beyond academics. Here is an overview of what students can gain from SEL:
Socio-emotional learning enables children to create positive relationships with peers, teachers, and other adults outside of school · When teachers implement SEL in their classrooms, children are more likely to be kind and helpful with other classmates. This practice means that children are more likely to engage in group work, co-curricular activities, and other school activities positively. Again when kids have a good relationship with their classmates and teachers, they are happier at school and want to be active members of the classroom community. Children with poor social-emotional skills are more likely to be the bully.
When teachers implement SEL in their classrooms, they are helping children to identify and understand their feelings, thus helping them regulate their emotions. This will help them when they struggle with difficult situations outside of school, such as a death in the family or a break up with a friend.
When children learn about SEL skills such as empathy/compassion, memory, emotions, they become more mindful of who they are. This can help the child identify what makes them unique from others which could lead to success later in life, whether college acceptance or getting into an after-school activity.
SEL enables children to develop positive relationships among diverse groups of children. Such children will grow up with solid relationships and won’t shy away from different backgrounds or cultures like others may do. This also means that these children will be more likely to stand up against bullying and social justice for others. So when they see someone being picked on, they’ll help stop it instead of watching from the sidelines.
Improves decision making
SEL helps children to make good decisions for themselves. For example, studies show that children who learn social skills (such as empathy) will often use these skills later in life during critical decision-making processes. They also tend to have better relationships because they understand what it means to treat others well. The child will then use that empathy and compassion in the future when they choose to interact with someone who has different views or beliefs.
When students practice SEL, like giving compliments or showing respect, they build self-worth, boosting their overall self-worth. Students who feel confident about themselves may do better academically than those without this feeling. This means that when they are in school, they do better in their classes, which will lead to an easier time getting into college or finding a job.
Benefits of VR technology for SEL
There are various ways VR technology can help to implement SEL. But first, let’s understand what VR technology is.
Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of an environment where a person can interact in a seemingly natural or physical way using special electronic equipment, such as headsets and motion tracking.
The immersive environment created by VR has been widely used to learn different concepts like creating building plans and therapies and learning about our anatomy, biology, and more STEM concepts. Parents and teachers can also use this technology to help children with their SEL skills in various ways, such as:
Make lessons more engaging/interesting for students
Many teachers use education software such as video, animation, and other multimedia tools when teaching STEM concepts. But the VR tech notches up the learning process, makes the class time fun, and gives kids a chance to learn new concepts in a fun and interactive way while still practicing essential life skills like empathy or listening. How does it help with socio-emotional skills? Interactive lessons are more engaging and communal for the kids, so they will stay interested in teaming rather than zoning out.
Therapeutic SEL tool
Many school psychologists use VR technology to help students learn good behavior/values. For instance, the child is allowed to interact with virtual people/characters who behave differently than they do in real life, thus allowing them to practice social skills through role-playing. These experiences allow them to see different scenarios and figure out what they would do if it happened in real life or even their limitations. It’s about self-awareness and students learning more about themselves while still practicing their interpersonal skills.
VR tech lets students with communication difficulties practice these skills in an environment that doesn’t feel intimidating. For example, a student with social anxiety might be more comfortable in a virtual environment where they practice their communication skills. With good communication skills, the child can be successful and overcome fears or anxiety. It could also lead to a better job because the child has a boost in socio-emotional skills
VR Technology has much more potential than just an entertainment tool. It can help children develop life skills like empathy, communication, problem-solving, and unique learning experiences that schools are already beginning to implement into their curriculums. If you are interested in VR Technology, especially for learning purposes, check out some of the BrainSTEM Metaversity programs: BrainSTEM teaches engineering and tech concepts in an immersive environment that allows students to manage interactions with different characters and scenes. The scenes are designed by BrainSTEM certified instructors to make the learning process more fun and exciting for STEM students.
To see how teachers are using BrainSTEM Metaversity in their classrooms, follow BrainSTEM on Twitter.
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