Education is a fundamental part of life. And school helps children excel at an array of different subjects and develop beneficial lifelong skills.
But does education prepare students for the real world? Social-emotional learning can help with this. In this episode of the EdTech Heroes podcast, our host Nef Dukes welcomes Toni Rose Deanon, the community engagement manager at Modern Classrooms Project. They chat about the benefits of social-emotional learning, how video tools help students learn at their own pace, and why teachers should let their personalities shine in the classroom.
👋 Name: Toni Rose Deanon
👩💻 What she does: She's the community engagement manager at Modern Classrooms Project.
🏫 Company: Modern Classrooms Project
✍️ Noteworthy: She has spent ten years as a middle school English teacher.
Social-emotional learning helps students develop emotional self-awareness. Education should prepare students for the real world. Toni Rose explains how social-emotional learning helps students recognize and articulate their feelings.
She says, "I know, as a middle school teacher for ten years, if my student has something that happened outside of the classroom, they're not going to be able to learn in the classroom. So whatever it is that they're going through at home, with their friends, with their partners or crushes or whatever, they're bringing all of that in.
And there are times where I have students who don't know how to articulate their feelings and so being able to articulate their feelings as well as being aware of things like, 'Oh, these feelings are coming up for me.' It's really good to have those words to be able to articulate that."
Storytelling goes a long way in the classroom. Video tools allow teachers to be dynamic. It allows them to use the power of storytelling to their advantage and teach students through compelling stories.
Toni Rose says, "Being able to hook your audience is also pretty impactful. And something that I tell my educators when they're creating videos is that you actually don't have to talk in a monotone voice, and you don't have to be professional about it either. Let your personality shine through."
Authenticity is key. Everyone likes authenticity, and students are no exception.
Toni Rose explains, "We expect our students to show up as themselves, and so we want to model that as well. And I firmly believe that my relationships with my students are so good because I was just me. I'm really goofy. I like to sing out loud sometimes. My singing voice is not cute, and I just celebrated with them all the time, and they just saw me for me. I was really silly, and I was also playful, but I was also stern."
Modern Classrooms Project mentor Sarah Moon joins EdTech Heroes to discuss the organization's mission. Listen below!
Videos are more accessible 💻
"When we start thinking about how video can help our learners feel more represented and be valued and like they belong. When you think about accessibility, especially with videos, you have your captions, you have fonts that you're super intentional with, as well as coloring and emojis that you're using. When they see that a lot of their classmates are using the same features and accessibility, it becomes normal, so it's normalized."
Screencastify helps students shine ⭐️
"When I started implementing videos and not just me creating the videos, but actually my students creating them, I was like, 'I wanna see how this goes and how it works.' And so I actually introduced Screencastify to my sixth graders, and I said, 'Okay, you have this class time to play around with Screencastify. Have fun with it. Figure it out on your own.' [...]
It [Screencastify] taught my students to plan in advance. It taught them to figure out who's going to do what with the video and who's going to say what and what their roles are, and then it also allows for students who are a little bit more advanced with technology and video editing tools to really shine."
In-depth videos help students learn challenging skills 🎬
"I was thinking about this and reflecting back on some of my mentees' longer videos. It really does make sense to have a longer video when that skill is a much more challenging skill. If an educator knew like, 'Oh, this is going to be really difficult for my students to understand, and then I really have to scaffold it so that my students understand exactly what I'm talking about.'"
Embrace your mistakes 😅
"Embrace your mistakes. Nobody is perfect. We, as educators, definitely don't have time and energy to be perfect. So embrace those mistakes. And I feel like our students have a lot more respect for us when they see us make mistakes."
Plan your videos in advance 📆
"Really plan out your skill or the content that you're going to cover before you start recording your video. Your video, when you record, that's your last step. That is your last step. And I again made the mistake of focusing on recording the video as opposed to planning. I planned it, but I was so focused on recording that everything else didn't come together like I wanted it to."
Helpful online resources for teachers 💡
"I'm a huge fan of Learning for Justice just because I feel like their articles are very relevant to today's world and the events happening all around us. And it does help educators navigate hard conversations and even hard topics that they could and should cover with their students, especially what's happening in the world.
Another one that I like is Cult of Pedagogy by Jennifer Gonzalez — only because she really does cover a lot of different things about education. One thing that I appreciate about her is that there's this equity resource of the week. And again, that's something that I look forward to just so I can click and be like, 'Oh, this is something that I didn't even know, or this is something that I could start implementing in my everyday life, or this is some organization that I need to hype up or support or whatever.'"
[07:52] "I think it's really important that, as educators, when we give students a task, it's really good for us to also do them just so that we know the misconceptions and where they're going to get stuck."
[10:46] "We need to provide that space for them to be okay as they go through it and also be able to pick up whenever they need to pick up because we can't expect our students to show up ready and prepared every single day."
[11:38] "When I became an educator because I knew the impact and the power of educators on students' lives, I was like, 'I wanna be able to create lessons and content that's much more accessible for every single learner.'"
[33:59] "I think my students definitely loved me goofing off in the videos. I'm not goofing off to the point where they're distracted with what they're learning, but they are able to see my personality shine through in the videos. And that hooks them, and that's really exciting stuff."