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The Social Institute Expands Curriculum to Educate and Empower Third-Grade Students 


Durham, N.C.– The Social Institute announced that it has expanded its pioneering peer-to-peer learning technology to meet the needs of third-grade students, available starting Fall of 2023. This gamified approach to supporting student well-being, called #WinAtSocial, empowers students to navigate their social world positively — including social media and technology — to fuel their health, happiness, and future success.

The developmentally appropriate lessons come in response to demand from elementary schools nationwide and the U.S. Surgeon General’s recent advisory on the effects of social media on youth mental health, calling for policymakers to support digital and media literacy. Lessons have been created with valuable insights and ideas from third-grade students and teachers across the country. The lessons are interactive and will challenge students to explore the impact of their everyday choices in a choose-your-own-adventure experience.

By the time students reach the 4th grade, more than half of them are already using popular apps like YouTube, Google Classroom, Video Streaming, FaceTime, and Mobile Gaming on a weekly basis, according to data by The Social Institute

“Elementary school students have more information at their fingertips than ever before,” said Laura Tierney, Founder and CEO of The Social Institute. “Based on our data, we know third grade is the ideal time to start proactively equipping students with the skills they need to make smart choices, both online and offline.”

According to The Social Institute’s nationwide survey of nearly 23,000 students, the most common age for getting their first smartphone is 10 years old, but some students are getting smartphones as early as 6 years old. Educators across the country are experiencing the need to support their students in new ways as they face the ever-evolving world of technology and social media. One of the many educators working with The Social Institute, Melissa Edwards, Director of Educational Technology at The Montessori School of Raleigh, agrees with that proactive approach. “We are noticing our students interacting with their peers online at earlier and earlier ages and want to make sure they have the necessary tools to communicate positively,” she said. “The Social Institute has created developmentally-appropriate lessons that give us the language and real-life examples to engage our students in intentional conversations. By beginning with third graders, we hope to equip our students before they encounter difficult situations and prepare them for their world in positive and proactive ways,” she continued. 

In each #WinAtSocial Lesson, 3rd graders will:

  • Embark on a choose-your-own-adventure experience that tests their decision-making skills.
  • Navigate real-life situations related to technology, vote on how the situation should end, and then have a discussion about the impact of their choices. 
  • Have the power to shape their everyday lives through the choices they make.

“The world is changing, and so are our students. They are fully immersed in the world of technology and social media, more so than ever before,” said Shiloh Blasdel, Social-Emotional Learning Teacher at South Hutchison Elementary, located in South Hutchison, Kansas. 

“Our district chose The Social Institute because we see the need for teaching our students how to navigate that world intentionally and responsibly. The Social Institute fills that need with its innovative and timely lessons and commitment to involving student leaders in the ideas and planning of those lessons,” Blasdel continued.

The #WinAtSocial curriculum is available for students in grades 3 – 12, and the online platform includes a save and exit feature so that teachers can facilitate a lesson over multiple sessions as needed. For more information on how to empower your students to navigate social media and technology in high-character ways, visit www.TheSocialInstitute.com.

ABOUT THE SOCIAL INSTITUTE

The Social Institute is the leader in understanding student experiences and the creator of #WinAtSocial, a gamified, online learning platform that equips students, educators, and families to navigate social experiences — online and offline — in healthy ways. Our unique, student-respected approach incorporates topics like social media, technology use, and current events that significantly impact student well-being. Lessons teach life skills for the modern day to inspire high-character decisions that support students’ health, happiness, and future success while capturing data that provides insights to school leaders to inform school policy and communications and enable high-impact teaching and a healthy learning environment. For schools, our turnkey technology allows for easy implementation and a comprehensive game plan to support the well-being of school communities.

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