4 ways to create safe mental health environments for our students

The Covid-19 pandemic has dealt our nation’s youth a difficult hand. After adapting to virtual learning over the past year and a half, many students this school year prepared to return to in-person education, despite concerns about their emotional well-being and the evolving pandemic situations.

According to recent research, nearly half (48 percent) of U.S. teens are concerned about experiencing social anxiety as they transition back to “normal” life. Additionally, 47 percent express concern about falling behind in school this year, and 43 percent report that they are concerned about mental health challenges as a result of the pandemic.

As teens grapple with these uncertainties in school and beyond, educators are taking note and are anticipating that mental health issues will have a major impact on student progress this year. In fact, 41 percent of surveyed U.S. high school educators anticipate that both student anxiety about returning to in-person learning and students with pre-existing emotional or behavioral challenges experiencing exacerbated conditions will have “a lot” or “tremendous impact” on the quality of learning.…Read More

Today’s Teens Questioning the Status Quo When It Comes to College

After experiencing an unprecedented year marked by a global pandemic, racial unrest and a turbulent U.S. presidential election, today’s teens have shifted their thinking when it comes to their educational path after high school.

Their likelihood of pursuing a four-year degree has diminished substantially over the past eight months with only slightly more than half of Gen Z teens now considering it. In addition, 52 percent believe they can achieve professional success with education attained in three years or less, and just one-fourth believe a four-year college degree is the only route to a good job.

And while 62 percent want to forge their own educational path, many high school students feel uninformed about the options available, with 63 percent of teens wishing their high school provided more information about the variety of postsecondary schooling opportunities available.…Read More

A national esports effort aims to ‘change the trajectory’ for students

As a student, video gamer and flight instructor Hudson Davis was often bored in school. He found that many classes provided only a surface-level understanding of key topics—and he was doing a lot of self-directed learning outside of class to explore topics he was passionate about.

“School should do a better job of allowing students to dig into those subjects that interest them,” Davis said. “Many kids just don’t get the opportunity to do that.”

Davis’s experience isn’t unusual. Even before the pandemic, many students felt disengaged from school. The shift to remote learning through platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets has only intensified the problem, creating what Julie Evans, CEO of Project Tomorrow, called an “unparalleled crisis for today’s teens.”…Read More

Using politics to teach critical thinking

As high school social studies teachers in a swing state, election season is some of the most fertile ground for learning, and this past cycle—with all its splashy and expensive political ads—proved no exception.

Our students are all in their mid teens, which means in the next presidential election, they will be eligible voters. With so much information (and misinformation) swirling around our students, it was imperative for us to teach them how to think critically about the political process in an unbiased, nonpartisan way, giving them the power to sift through the reams of information we’re inundated with on a daily basis and decide what to trust and what to be skeptical about—and how to go about making those determinations.

Tools to Teach with Politics…Read More

Full Sail launches new camps for coding, robotics, gaming, and more

Full Sail Labs, an educational experience designed for students from 1st to 12th grades with a focus on technology, science, art and media

full-sail-labsFull Sail University on Dec. 11 unveiled Full Sail Labs, a series of week-long summer camp for students from 1st to 12th grades. Students can take one of 11 camp sessions focusing on topics such as gaming, robotics, or animation at its campus near Orlando.

Developed by Full Sail University with the goal of creating an engaging and open learning environment that allows children and teens to explore creativity through storytelling, art, and technology, Full Sail Labs provides young creative talent with the knowledge to become digital content creators.

Through this experience, young students have the opportunity to explore the techniques used for filmmaking, coding, animation, gaming, robotics, and much more in a fun and collaborative environment.…Read More

A helpline for schools tackling cyberbullying

Pilot program lets schools tap into a helpline with close ties to Twitter and Facebook

cyberbullying-socialWith a reported 55 percent of all teens on social media witnessing outright bullying via that medium, and with 95 percent of those youngsters who witnessed bullying on social media choosing to simply ignore the behavior, K-12 districts are growing increasingly concerned about the impact that such activities can have on their students.

This concern is warranted according to the advocacy site NoBullying.com, which reports that just one of out of every six parents are even aware of the scope and intensity involved with cyber bullying and that the victims are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem and to consider suicide as a result.

Anne Collier, founder and president of nonprofit Net Family News, wants to get K-12 districts in California — and eventually nationwide — involved with the anti-bullying movement as it pertains to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Collier, who is co-creator of the recently-launched iCanHelpline.org, teamed up with #iCANHELP to develop a social media helpline for schools.…Read More

Survey suggests nearly half of teens text in class

A new study by textPlus found that 43 percent of teens ages 13-17 say they text in class, and of that group, 17 percent of them say they do it “constantly,” reports JSYK (Just So You Know). What’s even more interesting is that only 26 percent of teens think it’s wrong to text during a lesson, and over half of the students admit that they’re texting friends in the same classroom. But the conversations aren’t just about gossip and what’s going on after school; 22 percent of teens say they’ve texted answers to their friends who have been called upon during class, and 20 percent of the high school students cop to being “saved” by an answer in a text. What’s more, nearly 80 percent of the teens surveyed say they’ve never been caught or gotten in trouble for texting in class. And parents are contributing to the texting-during-class trend, too: 66 percent of the students polled say their parents text them during the day, even though they know they’re in class…

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Teens’ social media use on the rise, but fewer are blogging

The use of mobile devices has led to shorter forms of communication among youth.
The use of mobile devices has led to shorter forms of communication among youth.

The use of social-networking web sites among young Americans continues to climb, with nearly three-fourths of American teens now using these sites. But fewer teens and young adults are blogging now than four years ago, and the number of those who use Twitter is still very low.

These are among the findings of a new study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, called “Social Media & Mobile Internet Use Among Teens and Young Adults.” Released Feb. 3, the study reveals new trends with implications for schools.…Read More