Headspace, an Australian non-profit organisation for youth mental health established by the Australian Government in 2006 reported that 74% of young people surveyed (in their recent coping with COVID: the mental health impact on young people accessing headspace services) reported that their mental health was worse since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The abrupt shift to distance learning due to the Covid-19 pandemic reduced one-to-one engagement with teachers, increased social isolation issues for students, created difficulties in ascertaining engagement levels of students, and restricted the ability to monitor individual student progress.
As the world shifted to remote learning, educational institutions and their partner technology providers were faced with pressing concerns of how to support student wellbeing through digital means. This was in addition to the considerable challenge of rapidly adjusting to new models of learning and pivoting from in-person to online classrooms. Many schools made this shift with the focus of enabling delivery. Particularly important to this digital adoption was the priority of social-emotional learning, student centricity, and skills in a safe, secure, and scalable environment.
As a Trusted Technology Partner for Schools, CrossPoint leverages its key Education Technology partnerships to deliver independent advice and intelligent solutions that put student wellbeing at the heart of every school’s ICT journey.
Let’s look at some of the well-being tools available to schools that integrate mindfulness into learning and can help boost children’s wellness In Schools:
In September 2020, Microsoft kicked off its digital wellness initiatives by adding new features in Microsoft Teams and Outlook to help people around the world with their wellbeing and productivity. New tools now allow people to connect more easily, schedule time for breaks, and see insights and patterns personalised for individuals.
These features were designed in response to the challenges posed by working remotely such as mental fatigue, inability to set boundaries between work/school and home, and feelings of isolation.
Educators can use the recommendations from Viva insights to improve their wellbeing and productivity by, for instance, setting “no-meeting” days, reserving time for focused work, and suggesting other ways to reduce stress and burnout.
Focused more on student wellbeing, Reflect is a free check-in app in Microsoft Teams that helps students recognise and navigate their emotions by providing regular opportunities to share and be heard.
Fifty-one illustrated characters were introduced to support educators in adding social and emotional learning into the students’ daily routine. This research-backed emotional granularity aims to expand students’ emotional vocabulary and help students associate words for emotions with facial expressions. Students are guided to identify what they are feeling, which then improves their self-awareness.
Moreover, educators get more engagement with their students as Reflect in Teams allows sharing feedback either publicly or anonymously. These insights can then be used to reach out one-on-one to students as necessary, host conversations about different emotions, discuss empathy with students and even reflect as an educator.
Ultimately, Reflect in Teams helps both the students and the educator to build a classroom community that pivots around social and emotional learning.
Vivi How R U
How R U is another virtual tool that checks on student wellbeing. Responding to the challenges brought about by Covid-19, Vivi fast-tracked its development and introduction of a new Student Feedback Tool that enables teachers to check in with the students via a link and gather information about their welfare.
In the form of a poll on the Vivi App, students can select emojis that best describe their emotions at that moment. The data collected is then available to the teachers and can provide insights to better understand how the students are coping during a certain period. Beyond the data, teachers can conduct activities to create classroom relationships and promote well-being even through the screen.
Testament to this is how one of our schools uses Vivi to quickly take a timeout in a lesson to re-focus and re-energise. Mixed with the poll feature, teachers obtain real-time feedback from students within the class and modify activities accordingly.
To learn more about adopting wellbeing-focused technologies within your school, give our experienced EDU team a call today at (02) 8905 1412.