CST: 09/12/2016 11:18:23   

Education Technology Is Critical for Developing 21st-Century Skills

274 Days ago

Technology Can Help Foster Social and Emotional Learning (SEL); A Report From the World Economic Forum and BCG Presents a Global Survey of Parents and Educators and Offers a List of Technology Features Linked to SEL

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES--(Marketwired - Mar 10, 2016) - Social and emotional skills such as collaboration, communication, and problem solving, are increasingly necessary as jobs evolve in the 21st century. And social and emotional learning (SEL) confers academic benefits; for example, a recent review of more than 200 SEL program showed that social and emotional skills can boost academic performance by as much as by 11 percentile points.

But a new global survey of more than 2,000 parents and educators found that both groups have a narrow understanding of SEL. They view it primarily as a means of achieving better classroom discipline, not as a way to ensure better economic, academic, and social outcomes over the long term. Education technology holds enormous promise to help foster social and emotional skills. It can personalize learning, engage the disengaged, complement what happens in the classroom, extend education outside the classroom, and provide access to learning to students who might otherwise not have sufficient education opportunities, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum, written in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, titled New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology, is being released today. 

Challenges to SEL-Related Education Technology Adoption

Despite the promise of technology, most of the learning strategies commonly used to develop social and emotional skills do not use technology or use it in only a limited way. The survey shows that most parents and educators recognize the potential for education technology to build social and emotional skills but also that they do not fully understand which technologies hold the most promise or how to use them best.

In addition, parents and educators prefer to use technologies to impart foundational academic skills rather than to foster social and emotional skills. For example, in the US, 67% of teachers surveyed believe technology is best used for foundational subjects, such as literacy and numeracy, whereas only 43% believe it is best used for social and emotional skills, results that are similar to findings in other countries. In addition, the number of SEL-related ed-tech products in the market today is insufficient.

Three Opportunities to Use Ed-Tech to Advance SEL

Interviews with education and technology experts and research into many promising examples of ed-tech products underscore the fact that technology can indeed play a pivotal role in fostering SEL. We see three critical opportunities that policy-makers, educators, parents, and others can tap to use ed-tech to foster the social and emotional skills that children need:

  • Capitalize on what works. Help educators, educators and others understand what really boosts social and emotional learning. In the course of our study, we compiled a list of 55 product features that are highly correlated with the ten critical social and emotional skills.

  • Embed SEL into foundational ed-tech products. Technology developers can embed SEL features into ed-tech products that support foundational skills such as literacy and numeracy, where 95% of venture-capital investment dollars directed to education technology have flowed since 2011.

  • Expand the realm of the possible. Take advantage of five nascent technology trends--wearable devices, leading-edge apps, virtual reality, advanced analytics and machine learning, and affective computing--that extend ways of fostering SEL and offer potential for exciting new learning strategies. 

"To thrive in the 21st century, students must have strong social and emotional skills, which are increasingly vital to the changing labor market and are clearly linked to a range of benefits including higher levels of academic success and employment. But many stakeholders lack awareness of all of the positive and long-lasting impacts of SEL," said Allison Bailey, a senior partner and the head of BCG's US Education practice. Added Elizabeth Kaufman, a BCG partner and a project advisor for the report: "Education technology offers an opportunity to address some of the barriers by embedding SEL features into foundational academic products. The list of features linked to social and emotional skills that we have compiled in this report can serve as a guide."

"Tremendous innovation is happening in education as well as across industries that we can learn from to design new learning experience for the future," said Mengyu Annie Luo, head of Media, Entertainment, and Information Industries at the World Economic Forum. "We are very excited to continue the work with leading technologists, thinkers, educators, researchers, business partners, and policy makers to identify new ways to advance SEL for all the critical skills students need."

A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.bcgperspectives.com.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at +1 617 850 3783 or gregoire.eric@bcg.com.

About The Boston Consulting Group

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors in all regions to identify their highest-value opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their enterprises. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 85 offices in 48 countries. For more information, please visit bcg.com.

About bcgperspectives.com

Bcgperspectives.com features the latest thinking from BCG experts as well as from CEOs, academics, and other leaders. It covers issues at the top of senior management's agenda. It also provides unprecedented access to BCG's extensive archive of thought leadership stretching back 50 years to the days of Bruce Henderson, the firm's founder and one of the architects of modern management consulting. All of our content -- including videos, podcasts, commentaries, and reports -- can be accessed by PC, mobile, iPad, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The Boston Consulting Group
Eric Gregoire
Global Media Relations Manager
Tel +1 617 850 3783
Fax +1 617 850 3701
gregoire.eric@bcg.com