June 6, 2022

VR Field Trips Help Build a Foundation of Social Emotional Learning in Elementary School

Kai XR

Elementary school is an important developmental time for children. Learning new skills and concepts is the foundation of most elementary classes. That means it's the perfect time for kids to learn and practice social emotional skills. Social emotional learning in elementary schools helps students build the foundation for a productive and social future.

Kai XR can bring social emotional learning to elementary classrooms through the use of virtual reality field trips. In this article, we’ll cover how social emotional learning in elementary schools helps students grow. We’ll look at:

  • What social emotional learning in elementary schools looks like
  • How social emotional learning benefits elementary school students
  • How Kai XR’s technology supports social emotional learning in the classroom
  • Why virtual reality field trips are the best ways to engage elementary school students in social emotional learning

What is Social Emotional Learning?

Social emotional learning (SEL) is a process that helps students learn social skills. Anyone, whether they’re young or old, can benefit from SEL practices. However, it is the younger generation that gains the most from incorporating social emotional learning in their elementary school lessons. 

Because their brains are still in the rapidly developing stage, elementary school students can pick up social emotional learning practices faster than others. Younger children are more open to new ways of learning, and the technology behind our virtual reality field trips helps expand that desire to learn.

By exploring the Obama portraits in Washington D.C. or taking a trip to Mars, elementary school students can learn about people and places far and wide without having to leave their homes or classrooms.

How Social Emotional Learning Benefits Elementary School Students

  • SEL skills help students build and maintain social relationships – By interacting with other cultures and professionals, students learn how to interact with those who are different from them.
  • SEL practices raise students' self- and social awareness – Exploring what makes everyone different helps students gain a better understanding of themselves and the world around them.
  • SEL teachings help students develop decision-making skills – With a greater understanding of the world and other cultures, students can make educated decisions about their life and goals.
  • SEL skills allow students to practice and perfect self-management – Students gain a greater self-awareness from SEL practices. This awareness helps them maintain their own image and work habits.
  • Students of SEL practices have better emotional control – When students are exposed to more social interactions, they begin to learn more ways emotions are felt and expressed. This helps them recognize their own emotions and discover healthy ways to express them.

It's not just the students who benefit from social emotional learning. Elementary schools that incorporate SEL into their curriculum see a higher overall grade point average with fewer cases of misconduct. Several case studies have shown that elementary school students gain valuable skills and resources from participating in a social emotional learning curriculum. 

What Others Have to Say About SEL

Don’t just take our word about the benefits Social Emotional Learning has to offer elementary school students. Researchers have been recording the positive impact SEL has for years. 

  • In a 2011 meta-analysis of 213 different school-based SEL programs, researchers from the University of Illinois and Loyola University found that SEL participants had significantly higher academic performance than the control group 
  • In July 2021, researchers from the Early Intervention Foundation reported that social emotional learning in Elementary Schools reduced depression and anxiety in students.
  • In a 2017 follow-up to a previous meta-analysis, researchers proved the lasting impact social emotional learning has on students and how every student—regardless of race, socioeconomic background, or school location—can benefit from SEL practices.
  • In 2015, the Center for Benefit-Cost Studies in Education teamed up with Columbia University to showcase how the benefits of social emotional learning outweigh the costs associated with them. Kai XR’s cost-effective technology further tips the balance in SEL’s favor.

SEL practices prepare students for the real world, teaching them valuable social skills required to live in a diverse global society. Without these social lessons, children have a harder time adjusting as they grow. Our goal at Kai XR is to use our virtual reality technology to help students learn these 21st-century learning skills and build a better future for themselves and the world.

How Kai XR Helps Build Social Emotional Learning in Elementary School Students

At Kai XR, our mission is to bring social emotional learning to classrooms in a safe and effective manner. We believe that the exploration and opportunities virtual reality provides can help bridge the gap between traditional teaching methods and social emotional learning techniques.

Through the use of our virtual field trips, we help bring the world to the classroom when the classroom can't visit the world. With our powerful virtual reality technology, elementary schools can incorporate social emotional learning into their curriculum without putting a strain on their budgets. Here’s how:

Innovation

Students can freely explore and experiment with our virtual reality trips. The safe and cost-effective teaching method helps empower critical thinking for VR kids, paving the way to a future of innovators and impactors.

Inclusion

Our virtual reality technology is designed to allow any student to go anywhere in the world. Students with disabilities can travel with their classmates and interact with their peers with ease. 

Social Awareness

With the help of our virtual reality field trips, students can meet and learn from cultures all around the world. This early-stage introduction to other lifestyles supports a future generation of understanding and harmony.

The World at Their Fingertips

Our virtual reality field trips bring social emotional learning to elementary schools by allowing students to visit locations around the globe. Even with a budget for field trips, many schools can only afford to send students to nearby locations. While it's important to become familiar with their own backyard, venturing out into the world helps students learn positive social skills.

Through our technology, students can visit the following locations (and time periods):

  • Washington D.C.
  • The Mesozoic Era
  • NASA Training Center
  • Mars
  • San Francisco
  • Egypt
  • England
  • Syria
  • Zoos
  • Museums
  • And More

All of these locations give students access to cultures and professionals they otherwise could never meet. Virtual reality field trips let students freely explore other passions and lifestyles in a safe and controlled environment. (Check out our article “Are VR Headsets Safe?”)

Inclusion for All Students

Every child deserves the opportunity to feel the excitement and joy a field trip can bring. Students all around the world love getting out of the classroom and learning about new concepts from new people. But even before the pandemic and budget cuts put field trips behind, students with disabilities had a harder time attending and enjoying field trips.

Virtual reality field trips are the answer to both problems. These trips are designed to help kids experience the joy of a field trip without having to leave their homes, instead being present in their VR classroom. There are several ways that our technology helps bring inclusivity to social emotional learning:

  1. Students with physical disabilities don’t have to worry about difficult and inaccessible travel to field trip locations and can instead interact with experiences wherever they are, right from their phone or tablet.
  2. Students with autism can peacefully explore their surroundings without getting overstimulated. Field trips are designed to bring an exciting yet calm experience for students.
  3. Students with ADHD can maintain their focus longer. Our field trips are designed to help block out distractions, allowing kids to focus on what they're trying to learn in a VR classroom.
  4. Students with social anxieties can freely go on a field trip without having to fear large crowds of people. They can interact with new cultures and professionals on their own time when they are ready.

The Importance of Learning Through History

Learning through history is one of the most common teaching techniques. Whether it's learning how to avoid the same mistakes or learning how people lived in the past, history experienced through virtual reality has a lot to offer. Our virtual field trips help elementary school students practice social emotional learning by connecting them to history influenced by culture. 

By exploring field trips related to historical movements, students learn how empathy can bring positive change to the world. 

With social emotional learning integrated into a school's curriculum, students build conflict resolution skills. By listening to the voices of residents in South Sudan in the Kai XR Spotlight: We Shall Have Peace, students learn how to work towards a peaceful future while still processing conflicts of the past.

Deep Learning: Sparking Curiosity

It's no secret that children are more likely to be involved in their education if they're interested in the subject matter. Our virtual reality field trips contain locations and guidance that covers a host of topics kids can sink their teeth into. Such topics include:

  • Dinosaurs – Go on a dinosaur adventure to explore the Mesozoic Era and learn about the ancient world.
  • Space – Take a spacewalk with NASA astronauts to learn about atmospheres and orbits.
  • Fashion – Peek behind the curtains to see how British fashion influences the country.
  • Theater – Go behind the scenes to learn how musicals and plays are made.
  • History – Explore great monuments and learn about the historical figures that inspired them.
  • Science – Take a detailed look inside the human body to learn all about anatomy.
  • Music – Listen to the sounds of the world and learn how music and culture influence each other.
  • Travel – Travel to exotic locations and learn about the people who live there.
  • Gaming – Explore the history of video game franchises and learn how entertainment influences culture.

By going on a field trip focused on something they're interested in, elementary school students are naturally more open and willing to learn. Virtual reality helps students become immersed in another person’s life and story, allowing them to empathize with others. By becoming invested in their chosen topic, kids open their minds to new information. Virtual reality for teaching not only gets elementary students interested in learning, but it helps them absorb what they learn. 

Sharing With Empathy and Creativity

While virtual trips allow elementary students to learn social emotional skills all around the world, the foundation of social skills begins in the classroom. Students interact with their classmates on a regular basis, learning how to share, interact, and resolve conflicts. Virtual reality technology can help enhance these important early social skills.

To help support social emotional learning in the classroom, our field trips facilitate sharing. Explore Mode gives students access to virtual reality trips without needing a headset. This means that students can partner up to explore as a team. In doing this, kids learn how to share and work together to fully experience the trip.

Explore Mode also allows teachers and parents to experience the trip directly alongside children. Not only do the adults get to have fun and learn, but they also help keep students focused and engaged. Explore mode allows more direction, helping teachers and parents keep a tighter control when needed. 

How Kai XR’s Virtual Reality Technology Enhances Social Emotional Learning in the Classroom

Teachers and students around the world are already looking for ways to integrate VR technology to help learn and teach. In an increasingly technological world, educators are always seeking new, scientific methods of teaching. As the world continues to evolve, VR technology can meet the demands of the classroom, positively impacting the way students create, learn, and experience the world. By connecting students to the metaverse, our technology helps students practice social emotional learning in the following ways:

Elementary Social Emotional Learning: Attention

The allure of technology immediately grabs the students' interests. Their brains become engaged, and they are more open to new ways of thinking. By being more open to new ideas, students gain a deeper understanding of another person’s life and begin to empathize with others more. By fostering empathy early on, students can have longer and healthier relationships as they grow. Students can learn to empathize through the Kai XR Spotlight: Dreaming in Za’atari.

Elementary Social Emotional Learning: Active Listening

VR technology fully engrosses a student in their lessons. By having their full attention, students participate in more active listening. Active listening helps students understand what the speaker is saying and want to actively question new information they receive. Active listening is an important part of social interaction that will help students create and maintain healthy relationships. Students can incorporate active listening skills by taking a virtual field trip to UC Berkeley to learn about how CRISPR is exploring gene-editing technology.

Elementary Social Emotional Learning: Impulse Control

By becoming fully immersed in a virtual reality field trip, students can learn to manage their impulsivity. The freedom of virtual reality allows students to explore freely, but encourages them to think before they speak and to listen to others without interrupting. Virtual reality also allows students the time to reflect on what they have learned. Taking the time to think about a situation before jumping right into action is an important part of impulse control. Through the Kai XR Spotlight on Ruby Bridges, students can slow down and process the magnificent journey of bravery a student their own age took.

Elementary Social Emotional Learning: Curiosity

Virtual field trips encourage students to build a healthy level of persistence and curiosity. By being allowed to freely explore, students learn how to uncover all the facts about a situation. They also learn new techniques that help them gather more information if they are at a loss. Students can take a VR field trip through the solar system, finding their own path through the planets as they explore and learn.

Expertise in the Classroom

Educators are essential in providing students with the tools they need to succeed in life. Elementary school teachers teach students curriculum while also supporting their social emotional learning development. This can be a lot for one person to handle, and young students don't always make the task easy. Using VR in schools can help with both goals. 

By taking students on a virtual field trip, educators can introduce them not just to new cultures but to other professional experts. A teacher can't be expected to know everything about a subject. However, teachers can use their skills and connections to bring expertise to their classes.

An important part of social interaction is learning how to actively listen and respond to thought-provoking questions. By inviting experts from around the world, virtual reality helps connect students to new and unfamiliar speakers. Being able to relate to and empathize with new faces is an important social emotional learning technique. With virtual reality technology, students can be exposed to a variety of people and will learn how to actively listen to everyone in their lives.

Our virtual field trips allow students to meet with professionals like: 

  • Astronauts 
  • Paleontologists 
  • Fashion designers
  • Video game makers 

Educators and schools can use these resources to connect their students with a range of knowledge they otherwise couldn't access. And the best part? By going on these field trips themselves, teachers can expect to learn a thing or two as well.

Education Merged with Fun

For years now, educators around the globe have been experimenting with ways to make learning fun. Everyone, not just elementary school students, learns and retains information better when they're having fun. But fun hasn’t always mixed well with education. 

When we designed Kai XR with educators and students, we set a goal of making it entertaining and educational. Students are at the center of our work and we design each field trip with their education and enjoyment in mind. With VR and the metaverse growing in the classroom, we believe that virtual field trips and VR tech are the future of education. 

Teach Social Emotional Learning in Elementary Schools with VR 

If you're looking for new and exciting ways to get your students interested in learning, we can help. Students, educators, and schools will enjoy experiencing all Kai XR’s trips to unique and fascinating locations.

Helping your elementary school students develop social emotional learning practices can be difficult. Our virtual reality trips allow you to bring social emotional learning to your classroom safely and effectively. By letting your students interact with far-off locations and new cultures, you help them broaden their horizons and learn positive social interaction skills. You also get to join your class, seeing parts of the world and meeting people you otherwise wouldn't be able to. 

To learn more about how our technology can support your child or classroom, explore our packages or schedule a demo. We can't wait to help you bring the fun of field trips to your children's educational endeavors.

Featured Image: Pexels

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