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Using Technology to Teach Empathy

Browse recordings: livestream.com/educon12

Session Three: Saturday 3:00pm–4:30pm
Room 309
Samantha Morra
Affiliation: Montclair Public Schools
Conversation Description:

In education, we have begun to embrace the importance of such critical skills as creativity, collaboration, and communication. Empathy should be included on that list if we are to create the global citizens we hope our students will become. Global awareness and the ability for technology to bring the world into our classrooms is important, but only if we can use these tools to better understand ourselves and others.

Empathy enables students to integrate other people's perspectives with their own. It is the ability to identify with others and will become a crucial skill as the world merges into a global community. It builds bonds, develops leadership skills, and brings self-awareness to seek out meaning and purpose in our lives.

I have been teaching empathy to middle school students over the past year. We have used a some of amazing websites, simulations, and games that make information and data come to life. We have used digital storytelling as well as many other tools and projects for students to communicate understanding and empathy. We have applied empathy to almost every area of the curriculum. We have changed how we discuss cyber-bullying and bullying in general based on empathy. One student said, "If you feel empathy for someone, it is almost impossible to bully them."

This conversation will explore the discussion educators are having all across the country about empathy and the tools, sites and teaching practices that encourage empathy.

Conversational Practice:
We will use a variety of tools including Wallwisher, a survey, and a wiki to bring together resources.


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