Creating Safe Digital Spaces for Learners to Explore Social-Emotional Topics

Peter Kraft, FETC 2018 presenter, is CEO and Co-Founder of Evolution Labs, which helps higher ed and K-12 engage students and parents, driving enrollment, retention and positive social-emotional learning outcomes. In 2000, Kraft and Howe co-founded GoalQuest to provide custom recruitment, enrollment and retention programs for universities. During his seven year tenure at GoalQuest, Peter delivered programs for more than 500 clients, ranging from University of Alabama to University of Missouri to American University.

Character education and social-emotional learning are becoming necessities inside K-12 and higher ed. There is a basic need developing for content to be presented in a way that supports the overall psyche of students. Peter Kraft, CEO of Evolution Labs, understands it can be daunting for students, and adults as well, to seek help in person by going to a school’s counseling office or raising their hand during a presentation. That’s why he’s worked with his team to offer engaging content spanning a plethora of topics in learner-driven digital interfaces. Their material, designed for adolescents, parents, and educators, gives schools and universities the opportunity to provide deeper education on critical matters that don’t always get adequate coverage due to restricted time or resources.

Peter Kraft co-founded Evolution Labs with Tracy Howe and Peter Tomassi in 2015 to change the way students engage with school and conversely, the way schools engage students. As their website explains, “We know learners share many of the same desires and goals we had decades ago as students, but their world is rife with tools and technology that materially shape those desires and goals… And that’s a world we must step into to reach them.”

Evolution Labs offers a full suite of educational lifecycle web and mobile products. These include enrollment and retention tools for colleges & universities, student-athlete success programs for intercollegiate athletics, and K-12 character development programs encompassing social & emotional learning (SEL).

As Peter states, “The challenge is to take our client’s existing experience and content that has already proven effective for them and translate that into a learning environment that is gamified, that’s more interactive, so that students are more interested and engaged in the content.” While this works with standard curriculum and subjects, this approach is especially effective when dealing with sensitive content and topics like bullying, cyberbullying, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, respect issues, and incidents of racial intolerance.

For higher ed, the company’s S360 and P360 programs provide immersive web and mobile content to prospective and current students (and their parents), driving inquiries, apps, yield and student success for colleges and universities around the country. SA360 offers success and mental health content to student-athletes to help them thrive on and off the field. And in K-12, the company’s Suite360 program utilizes web, mobile app, mobile messaging and social media to help K-12 students and parents navigate a range of issues, from social and emotional learning to character development and health & wellness.

Evolution Labs recognizes that having enough content experts isn’t the issue; there are already content experts on cyber bullying, academic integrity, test-taking anxiety, and a myriad of other issues working with schools every day. These experts are just looking for the tools to create the conduit to get the message across into the student’s world. Evolution Labs gets them to embrace their new programs by encouraging them to collaborate on the content, and then use the tools they’ve created as the conduit.

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Listen to the full interview here:

Peter Kraft is presenting three sessions including “Equity of Access: Making Sure All Learners Benefit From EdTech” and “Increasing Community Engagement with Technology: Why and How It’s Done“. For more information on his sessions, visit the FETC website here.