An Evidence-Based Approach to SEL
Since its inception in 2008, Harmony SEL has undergone continued development, evaluation, and iteration by academic experts in education and technology.
Proven Benefits to Academic Performance and Peer Relationships
Three rigorous evaluations of Harmony’s components have been conducted since the program’s inception. Two studies focused on fifth-grade students participating in relationship-building activities and the other study evaluated the impact of the “Buddy Up” everyday activities on preschool peer relations. All three studies utilized quasi-experimental design and found the Harmony components to have positive impact on children’s peer relations when compared to control groups.
In the first evaluation of 631 fifth graders from six different elementary schools, students participating in Harmony reported significantly more diverse friends than did those from control groups. Furthermore, these peer influences were related to improved writing and math performance in classrooms using Harmony, but not in control classrooms (DeLay, et al., 2016). A second study compared the social and academic behaviors of 368 ﬁfth graders participating in Harmony’s relationship building activities to 259 ﬁfth graders in control classrooms (Miller, et al., 2017).
The third evaluation found that preschool children who participated in the “Buddy Up” everyday activities had more peer interactions and were more likely to engage in play with a wider array of peers than did children in the control classrooms (Martin et al., 2017).
Together these studies suggest that students participating in both the relationship building activities and everyday activities of Harmony benefit both socially and academically. The studies reveal promising gains in both social emotional development and academic performance over those in control groups.
Teaching With Technology
“Using technology in the Pre-K-12 classroom has shown potential to promote critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills (Saavedra & Opfer, 2012).”
“It is exhilarating to see the cross section of digital transformation and social emotional learning. As someone who has witnessed the ed tech transformation since 1983, I have seen the way in which technology can provide a resource to students with a shallow voice or students who feel they don’t belong. This research and the resources within the portal will be an invaluable resource to teachers and leaders throughout the world who want to truly utilize technology to the benefit of learning and teaching.”