"There is great benefit when schools care about the head and the heart of their students.” – Diana Cardenas, ANU Lead Researcher
Researchers at the Australian National University recently found that “self-reported levels of depression had a large, negative effect on their National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results months later.” The findings echo Oxford University’s research showing “There is convincing evidence of a relationship between well-being and academic attainment.”
The research is clear and schools around the country are looking for ways to better understand the wellbeing of students and staff, and, as a result of COVID-19, there’s been an influx of new solutions driven by this very real demand to maintain positive connections.
Coupled with this shift in focus is the role technology is playing in making whole-school approaches feasible. As schools turn to digital check-ins to support wellbeing, it's important to know that not all wellbeing platforms are the same. As with any new purchase, finding the solution that meets your school's needs is not a quick and easy decision.
The following considerations will guide you through selecting the right technology solutions for your whole school initiative.
1. REAL-TIME & ACTIONABLE INSIGHTS
Has the platform been designed to allow students to reach out for help before their issue becomes critical?
Great wellbeing platforms are designed for action, not just research. Look for a solution that delivers a real-time snapshot into your students’ wellbeing and, more importantly, allows you to initiate interventions. You want to be able to make an impact where it’s needed the most, so the platform should identify opportunities for immediate actions.
“‘Zero Invisible Children' is such a key part of our school. And what I love about ei Pulse is that I can see where every single student in the school is at. That is so powerful for any principal.” – Nicole Archard, Principal, Loreto College
2. RESEARCH-BACKED QUESTIONS AND FRAMEWORK
Does the platform use a research-based, independently developed wellbeing framework that has been tested and improved over time?
If you want to uncover the true state of student wellbeing, it’s important to ask the right questions about the right topics. We encourage you to consider platforms that are backed by time-tested frameworks that encompass all the factors that influence student wellbeing.
3. CONNECTING WITH SOMEONE THEY TRUST
Does the platform make the process of asking for help as easy as humanly possible?
At the best of times, students are not always forthcoming about their emotions. Even when they need help, the prospect of walking to the counselor’s office or uttering the words “I need help” can be quite nerve-wracking. The best wellbeing platforms provide a safe and private mechanism for students to reach out for help.
4. SAVES TIME FOR EVERYONE
Is the wellbeing platform a net time-saver for every person in my organisation?
School staff are busy and overworked. Look for a platform that won’t add more pressure or responsibilities. Even more helpful is a platform that transforms your wellbeing process from treatment to prevention - because both the severity of wellbeing issues and the effort required to manage them increase in a ‘post-vention’ world.
“It is easier to build strong children than to fix broken adults.” – Frederick Douglass
5. SAFE AND SECURE
Has the platform been developed by an experienced and trusted vendor with a "Privacy First" mindset?
When managing school data, an extra level of safety is required, so be sure that your chosen vendor has invested in the right privacy and security processes. Look for platforms that Comply with Safe Technology for Schools (Australia); COPPA, FERPA (USA), GDPR (Europe) and Integrate with reputable school Single Sign On and Identity Management platforms such as Wonde or Clever.
6. EASY & FUN - BUT NOT TOO GAMIFIED
Does the platform make the student experience light-weight and enjoyable to maximise engagement?
A wellbeing check-in should not feel like a chore to students, but it also shouldn’t resort to gamification to eke out inauthentic engagement. Check-ins should be interactive, quick and easy to complete, accessible on any device, and have additional elements that will help to make the check-in engaging for the student.
ei Pulse student wellbeing tool gives students the ability to give gratitude to each other. A readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness, has a very strong link to wellbeing and creates a foundation of positive psychology.
7. FIT FOR PURPOSE
Can the wellbeing platform be aligned to your unique needs? Was it designed for the school setting from the ground up?
Every school is unique. So it is important that the wellbeing platform does not follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Some features to consider are whether the solution is usable across Primary, Middle, and Secondary years and/or allows flexibility with the frequency of check-ins. We also know that student wellbeing is intertwined with teacher wellbeing, so look for a platform that can also monitor teacher and non-teaching staff wellbeing.
8. ACCESSIBLE AND MOBILE-FRIENDLY
Does the platform help us to stay in touch with students wherever they are?
The best way to engage students is by reaching them in a medium they’re most comfortable with - whether that’s at school or on the move. Removing barriers such as time and location gives you the best chance at engaging students authentically.
In the last year, schools using ei Pulse have:
- Identified students that were not previously on their 'wellbeing radar'
- Supported more than 4000 students who used the 'I need help' feature
- Stayed connected with students through more than 1M check-ins.
Join a growing number of schools around the world using ei Pulse weekly check-ins to support their students' and staff's social-emotional wellbeing and development. Schedule a Demo with your leadership team today.Do you have an idea for a story?
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