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Published on Friday, March 17, 2017

SXSWedu 2017 Recap: Social-Emotional Learning and Equity Take Center Stage at Annual EdTech Conference

Last week, Committee for Children had the privilege of attending SXSWedu in Austin, TX. The annual conference draws over 10,000 educators, academics, and professionals from around the world to discuss hot topics in the education technology (EdTech) field. This year's conference included the usual panels and parties, but featured a new emphasis on equity, creativity, and social-emotional learning (SEL). Here are three of our top takeaways:

1) Despite skepticism from many, digital tools can help boost SEL.

Committee for Children's own innovation director Mia Doces participated on a panel along with an entrepreneur and an investor to discuss the implications of building digital tools for SEL. The session had over 180 people in attendance, and the Twitter back channel reflected a great deal of interest in, and enthusiasm for, the topic. Real-world examples of digital tools created by Committee for Children’s New Mission Ventures team  (including Mind Yeti, Parachute, and a Minecraft research project), as well as HopeLab and Facebook, helped make the case for why technology can make SEL better. Questions remain about how to measure impact and outcomes, but as panelist Steve Arnold put it, “[Children] today have equivalent meaning in their virtual and real-world relationships. Digital tools for SEL don’t have to be a game or VR. It can be about broadly meeting kids where they are.”


2) When an entire district adopts mindfulness as a guiding principle for SEL, the impact can be astounding.

Mindfulness was on the agenda at SXSWedu, thanks to a two-hour session led by representatives from the Austin Independent School District. SEL experts James Butler, Hilary Smith, and Jason Littlefield shared stories of how mindfulness has impacted classroom culture and teacher retention, and discussed strategies for how to get buy-in for mindfulness across schools and the entire district. Later, the Committee for Children team was lucky enough to visit three Austin elementary schools using Mind Yeti, and see the local mindfulness movement in action.

3) To move forward, the EdTech industry must focus on empathy and equity, not just technology.

This year's conference included a number of powerful sessions about the need for equity in EdTech, including Christopher Emdin’s powerful keynote on the first day. Later, a number of design thinking and makerspace sessions emphasized empathy as a key component of equity building. At Committee for Children, we’re committed to both empathy and equity. We're proud to be part of building programs and tools that address these—and other—key issues in education.

What are your keys takeaways from SXSWedu? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter using the hashtag #Tech4SEL.


«May 2017»

Committee for Children Applauds Bill to Combat Chronic School Absenteeism

Committee for Children recently commended Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) for introducing legislation to combat chronic school absenteeism, a widespread problem nationally and particularly in Washington State. 
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Keeping Children Safe: Reporting Child Sexual Abuse

All states have a law that requires us to report when there is reasonable suspicion that child sexual abuse occurred, yet child sexual abuse is underreported by both children and adults, including teachers. There are many reasons for this. Children are often afraid or ashamed to tell. Adults may not know about all the signs of abuse, may lack knowledge about reporting, or may worry about making inaccurate reports.
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13 Reasons Why Teachers Are Appreciated

May 9th is National Teacher Appreciation Day, a time to show our thanks to teachers for all they do. In honor of this day and of teachers in general, I asked others about why they value teachers. I interviewed children, parents and grandparents, including Joan Duffell, Executive Director of Committee for Children, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the safety and well-being of children through social-emotional learning and development. Of course, I added in my thoughts too. In total, 13 of us share why we appreciate teachers, and we mean every last word!
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Mothering Yourself: Making Self-Care a Win-Win

It is critical that the needs of the parent come FIRST for everyone in the family to thrive. CFC's parenting expert Melissa Benaroya explains why.
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CFC Sponsors PSBJ 2017 Corporate Citizenship Awards Luncheon

On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, Committee for Children had the privilege of being a Gold Sponsor at the Puget Sound Business Journal’s (PSBJ) 2017 Corporate Citizenship awards luncheon. It was an inspiring and well-attended event at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.
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Committee for Children Launches Mind Yeti App for Kids and their Adults

Get your mind ready on the go with Committee for Children's new Mind Yeti iOS app, available to download for free in the iTunes store.
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Your Child’s Golden Ticket to Success in the 21st Century Job Market

CFC's parenting expert Melissa Benaroya explains how social-emotional skills are vital to your child's workplace success down the road. 
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NEW Second Step Middle School Program: Sneak Peek

Coming fall 2017, the new Second Step social-emotional learning (SEL) program for middle-schoolers brings together today’s technology, the latest in developmental research, and real classroom feedback coming from two years of field testing. Get an early look!
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