Digital well-being supports the physical, mental, and social health that occurs with mindful engagement in the digital and natural environment. The term digital wellness refers to the capacity of media and technology to build digital environments that help advance the overall well-being of children, their families, society, and humanity at large. This is vital in the SEL environment, as well as in the trauma-informed classroom, PYD, and service learning.
Learners have gained valuable new skills while interacting in virtual classrooms and maintaining connections with family and friends through screens. Ensuring that these new skills support overall student well-being is crucial.
The digital environment in which children and teens interact is a central part of their life experiences and should foster positive relationships, identity development, and digital citizenship.
The use of technology helps educators differentiate learning, amplify learners’ voices, and give each a chance to direct their own learning. Incorporating technology within SEL instruction and core academic content helps learners:
- Work to their strengths.
- Complete assignments at their own pace.
- Enjoy a more personalized experience in the classroom.
Support digital well-being with the strategic uses of:
- 1:1 device-programs in schools including laptops and tablets.
- Hardware that encourages inclusive experiences, such as the Surface adaptive kit
- Platforms that encourage connection and feedback about well-being, such as the Reflect app within Microsoft Teams.
- Minecraft: Education Edition to encourage play within learning.
- Microsoft Planner to help organize projects and coordinate with others.
- Flipgrid to allow learners to express their thoughts verbally, which can lower cognitive load by reducing the amount of writing needed to share their thinking.
- Microsoft Teams notification settings to control when interruptions can be allowed.
- Microsoft Teams chat features to foster ease of communication within groups and quick access to educators about documents, discussions, or assignments.
- Outlook Rules and Outlook Viva Insights to provide alerts for email and calendar to stay up to date.
- Focus mode with the Edge browser or Focus Assist with Windows 11 to help limit distractions while working.
- Edge browser Collections feature to keep websites organized.
- Xbox adaptive controller to allow all learners to play together, promoting relationships, and friendly competition without barriers.
- Microsoft To Do app allows users to share and collaborate lists, and integrates with Planner and Outlook.
- Accessibility tools within Windows 11 to personalize devices for each learner.
- Immersive Reader allows readers to personalize the look, size, spacing, color or identify parts of speech and provide a visual image of words.
- Read Aloud feature in Edge, Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook reads text out loud, to keep the focus on content rather than reading skill.
- Math feature in OneNote and Word to allow quick access to advanced math symbols, explanations, and solutions, as well as graphs.
- Digital inking options, like replay, drawing to text, ink to shape, and ink to math to offer a multimodal experience.
Digital citizenship lessons teach students how to apply SEL skills within online platforms. This is for the purpose of managing digital environments with empathy, perspective, and self-awareness. In the same ways that educators teach perspective-taking, resilience, and productive struggle during in-person instruction; project-based learning with media and technology enables students to practice kindness in the digital world.
Download the Digital well-being contract to use today.