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World Economic Forum Report Indicates SEL's Potential in Ed Tech

By CIOReview | Monday, May 16, 2016

FREMONT, CA: World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group recently published a report, New Vision for Education: Fostering Social and Emotional Learning through Technology; which indicates that Social Emotional Learning (SEL) holds good potential from which Ed Tech firms can tap innovations in learning methodologies. In its review by Education Week, it is stated that the report identifies two main areas of growth namely products that target core academic subjects whilst incorporating the skill sets that SEL aims to impart and the possibility of high end technologies such as wearable devices, virtual reality, affective computing, advanced analytics and machine learning system that would warrant additional investments.

Best known for its implementation in K-12 levels, SEL teaches mental skills that lead to understanding and managing emotion, setting positive realistic, building long-lasting relationships, show empathy for others, and problem-solve constructively and ethically. The report cites inadequate SEL programs and products as one of the reasons that are holding back adoption of SEL technologies. It exhibits a variety of general and targeted learning strategies fostering social and emotional skills that that contribute to a student’s competency and character qualities.

Describing the investment landscape for education technology, the report shows that private investment in ed-tech has expanded, broadening opportunities to reach vast new communities of learners although the total investment in the space represents only a small fraction of overall venture capital investments. “About 70% of the financing for company products targeting these age groups has gone to multimedia content delivery and platforms, online courses and tutoring, foreign language content and literacy and academic-standards-based and Common Core programs.” It read as it portrayed a comprehensive graph detailing howt the top 21 ed-techs make up more than 50% of total private investment since 2011.

Throwing light on its survey of parents and teachers, held across five countries namely US, UK, Kenya, South Korea and China, the report shows that teachers and parents place high emphasis on SEL and often cite insufficient time and requirements to teach academic skills. It also graphically draws comparison on the different technologies employed by tutors of these countries. Computers, interactive whiteboard, presentation software’s and digital content account for majority of hardware and software tools used by teachers.

Pointing towards the way forward for SEL, the report illustrates the complex ecosystem that supports SEL, one that is not confined merely to home and school environments. Hilting the importance of global organization in the cause of SEL, the report suggests how individual stake holders namely Policy-makers, Educators, Parents, Researchers, Businesses Tech developers and Investors can enable and advance SEL into education technology.

The report is the second in a series from the World Economic Forum on ways to address the "21st century skills gap" through technology.