Social Emotional Learning and Early Years Learning

Part 1

Accordion Content

Abstract:Develop an online platform with a gamified approach to education on life skills and disaster preparedness. Apply game mechanics (levels, badges and incremental achievement), game dynamics (reward, status and competition) and self-determination theory (autonomy, competence and relatedness) to encourage motivation and engagement. Use technical content developed by the Sri Lanka DMC and Save the Children. Co-design the platform and tools with the youth cohort/s. Pilot with 5,000 young people.

Presenter: Melanie Worrall, Director of Learning Technology Consulting

Organization: Inclusiv Education

Abstract: The Classroom App is built in response to the COVID19 distance learning challenges faced by elementary grade teachers & parents who do not have access to reliable internet &/or access to high quality content. Teachers are overwhelmed by unfamiliar & complicated technologies, having to reinvent their lesson plans, in addition to poor internet connectivity. It uses Smart Kidz Club’s carefully curated educational digital library of “just right” narrated & illustrated eBooks—in an environment free of ads, animation, videos & games to help teachers build remote classrooms & connect with parents & students via mobile technology without the need to always be connected online at the same time. Books downloaded can be read offline.Teachers save time & have the flexibility to customize curriculum, from within the library, can assign books, & review progress of the class or each individual student. We aim to keep kids safe, bridge the digital divide, & prevent COVID learning slump.

Presenter: Surinder Sharma, CEO

Organization: Smart Kidz Club Inc

Abstract: Our innovation is a suite of low-cost SEL interventions – known as “Kernels of Practice” — that teachers integrate into any classroom setting to improve the social-emotional and academic outcomes of students. One example of this type of intervention is EASEL Lab’s Brain Games intervention, which is a set of teacher-led games designed to bolster childrens’ skills in self-regulation and executive function. These low-intensity activities comprise an array of flexible social and emotional supports that are simple for teachers to implement within their standard curriculum and are known to be especially essential for the millions of children around the world who are exposed to emergency-related stressors and adverse experiences. We expect this innovation to have an impact on teachers’ practice, Nigerian children’s social-emotional and reading and math skills; as well as offer a model of SEL that can be adapted and integrated into other crisis-affected contexts around the world.

Presenters: Jonah Bautista, Data Advisor at the International Rescue Committee and Natasha Raisch, Research Assistant for the EASEL Lab at Harvard University

Organizations: International Rescue Committee and EASEL Lab at Harvard University

Abstract: Tiny Totos Kenya enhances early childhood development in eastern Africa’s slums by working with existing, slum-based daycares to help them provide improved standards of care to children and earn more money from their work. Their intervention model in helping transform substandard daycares to quality centers of care includes entrepreneur coaching, education around early childhood development, mentorship, and access to finance. Tiny Totos Kenya is creating a growing association of upgraded slum-based daycare centers in lower-income urban areas of Nairobi, while also creating opportunities for additional value and revenue from the growing customer base they serve to meet operating costs. Beyond striving for unit economic profitability and network sustainability, Tiny Totos has already made remarkable strides in terms of children’s development: all children receive health screenings and access to nutritious meals that result in significant improvements to their overall health and weight.

Presenter: Emma Caddy, Founder and CEO

Organization: Tiny Totos

Part 2

Accordion Content

Abstract: Sun Books aims to provide children in “off the grid” areas of Uganda access to quality educational resources. We have developed an innovative method for distance learning and education content to improve literacy. A tablet with a cover/protection case is used with all the content pre-loaded on the device with a solar charger panel unit. We use a software called tendril in the creation of books, games and activities. Children can access 600 e-books with stories to promote values and 300 games to enjoy while learning to read and write. The content has been developed collaboratively with local teachers and students.  We recently created five stories, and three new games regarding the prevention of COVID-19. We are encouraging families to create their own books, videos and podcasts, empowering them to be the protagonist of their own stories. This initiative contributes to supporting cognitive but also socio-emotional skills.

Presenter: Maria del Pilar Rojas Quimbay, Program Manager

Organization: World Literacy Foundation/Sunbooks Center

Abstract: SIL Mexico is developing an Android app, Alpha Tiles, that encourages basic literacy development through gaming. The intended audience includes minority language speakers outside formal education systems. The big idea is to make it as simple as possible to create these games for the thousands of minority languages in the world. The input includes a word list with corresponding audio and images. The output is a collection of games that require the user to perform tasks of increasing difficulty with the individual letters of words and corresponding pictures. In our assessment, it is common practice for educational software organizations to transition from English-only offerings to new languages by focusing on the number of speakers (e.g. Spanish, Chinese, Hindi). To be financially sustainable, this “the next five major languages” approach makes sense, but in a world with 7,000 some languages, there is a lack of tools that can be scaled into the hundreds, let alone the thousands, of languages. Our hope is that Alpha Tiles will make some contribution to meeting this need.

Presenter: Aaron Hemphill, Alpha Tiles Project Manager

Organization: SIL Mexico

Abstract: Johns Hopkins’ mental health training protocol CETA (Common Elements Treatment Approach) has achieved remarkable success in training participants to diagnose and treat a broad range of common mental health issues. Participants repeatedly role play the application of their new skills during the training. Because roleplays are conducted in parallel, the trainer must circulate quickly between pairs to observe trainee as they perform. This presents challenges for the trainers who, without digital support, must record, synthesize and track data over time for large cohorts of trainees. Meanwhile, the participants struggle to remember the content they must apply, and the details of the current scenario they are running. These challenges have led to scaling problems as without highly skilled trainers, cascades fail to adequately relay core skills beyond their initial generations. 

To address this, JHU contracted EDC to develop a set of digital materials to support the trainings and supplement the trainer skills. Under the guidance of the contract prime Center for Infectious Disease Research Zambia (CIDRZ), the digitally supported training will be evaluated against the human-driven training, and both will cascade across several generations of trainers and practitioners. The project’s focus will be to conduct an RCT to ascertain the effectiveness of the digital training in scaling the CETA protocol.

Presenter: Dr. Simon Richmond, ICT Team Leader

Organization: EDC

Abstract: At Ubongo, we believe that children are all born with limitless potential. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances of their early years, much of that potential may be lost. Research tells us that 90 percent of brain development happens in the first five years of life. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 44 percent of children have low social emotional development. The good news is that social emotional development can be improved through pre-primary education and at-home learning experiences, in children of all backgrounds. At Ubongo, we do this through high quality, localised edutainment. By utilising a Human-Centred Design (HCD) approach, Ubongo has worked with parents and children to develop an educational animation series, especially for younger learners aged 3-6. The series, “Akili and Me,” currently brings Social-Emotional learning into the homes of more than 12.1 million children across Africa, using a mixture of engaging songs, stories and games.

Presenter: Cliodhna Ryan, Head of Education

Organization: Ubongo

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