Cultivating Empathy to Young Minds While They Learn to be Good Citizens in a Digital World.

Katrice Wright

Technology has changed the way I teach and the way students learn. I am enthroned to be in a position to work with a school that is 1:1 and now has 5G wifi availability. As a leader, I have a cognitive process supporting my teaching and writing angle. Cognitive science is the study of how intelligence is linked to behaviors. Students have been provided technology that aids them in rich learning and meaningful experiences.  Roger Shank says that cognitive science can save our schools.  If we can take the idea that academics is the force that guides learning and turns that thought into designing education around cognitive processes, it can change education views. In my humble opinion, If w can take the learning into Social processes, we can just maybe keep our young learners engaged authentically. Having to educate or be educated in a remote, blended, and hybrid model has allowed us all to step up. Technology as a form of teaching is a decisive move.

We are in the age of flipped classrooms and blended learning. Using cognitive science to better our schools is a step in the right direction. Empathy is needed, and educators, teachers, and leaders need to cultivate it, and now! We use applications to hook our learners in and drop knowledge on the short and fast. Working in a district that has provided us with a Learning Management System, Schoology works seamlessly with the tools I use, Flipgrid, Nearpod, and Padlet. Most young learners are tech-savvy and can operate all platforms with ease. Educators should stay flexible and work to try and add new tools to their teaching toolbox.

Social Processes

Students are social beings. They have to interact and establish behaviors that allow for communication and collaboration. We have to understand and respect their voice.  I use several platforms/ tools to enable my learners to have real reflective discussions and be creative. We use technology to do just about everything. Our students use their devices for more than learning. Some use technology to communicate with one another. This limits their physical interaction but increases the cognitive way they process interacting with their social business.

Influence having the skill set to get others to do what you want. Students can influence one another positively or negatively.  Consider how schools and education have changed due to the world pandemic. Staying mindful of your student’s social interaction will definitely be rewarding because of the confidence nurtured by acceptable teaching practices.

Teamwork is getting around the individual difference to reach the desired goal. Having a temperament that getting along with others/classmates is necessary to achieve the common goal. Cooperation is so important. It creates a force that students must cultivate to be a welled rounded humans and students. If broken down, collaboration means working together, which benefits the path to get to the desired results accomplished. We have all heard that “teamwork makes the dream work.” It runs true in education. The best lessons I have ever created were those that allowed groups to work on a project but established clear roles for each member to model respect and give the students a chance to pull in their responsibility to themselves and their group members.

Negotiation understanding that services can be traded to have success. Adjustments are always being made in life and especially in the classroom. Discussing to reach an agreement, goal, or assignment takes skill. Students must practice healthy dialogue in person or behind the keyboard and computer screen. Using platforms like Filpgrid and Padlet can have a meaningful, healthy discussion that can benefit young learners and should always be encouraged.

Describing understanding how to communicate one’s thoughts and what has happened. Making a clear account in words of what has taken place. Being able to give a statement with relevant characteristics hitting all the qualities and being aware of the event.

The desire of my education journey for myself and my students is to create exciting yet significant learning experiences. Students need enjoyable lessons. Establishing a cultural connection can also make learning worth it. Having no relationship to the class can be a horrible experience. The brain cannot process thinking deeply about things the students don’t care about or connect to. Educators need to approach the cognitive process related to educators’ social aspects, and I am guilty. Students need to see themselves in our teaching. They need more diversity and be exposed to more than one way of doing things.   Technology has provided many platforms to basically do the same thing. It’s just preference, sometimes. Authentic teaching can equal authentic learning. We are teaching today’s students with yesterday’s beliefs, and they are better than that. Students deserve to be accountable. They want to try new things. We should all think about empathy and how the classroom should require it, and education needs to help cultivate empathy. I want my students to feel supported and empowered with the learning intention and success criteria I have for them in my learning environment. We should want to make an impact and leave a footprint that educators after us will walk in. Meaningful lessons that have valuable takeaways for all. Remember to have a growth mindset when it comes to technology and teaching.

When planning a lesson, the designers feel that growth and mindset will change from this lesson. The designers put themselves in the shoes of the learner. The teachers consider all the resources needed to get the task off the table. Questions will be asked, and steps will be taken. Will the students need to be proficient in the technology accompanying the study? Are the students able to fully comprehend the discussions/reflection questions? How can I fully influence them? I desire my students to build a footprint that will follow them on the digital impact’s positive side. First, they need to learn empathy and how it can be cultivated.

Lessons will be designed to fully explain empathy and how change can happen within oneself. Students have various devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, and televisions. The devices are provided by the school in our 1:1 grant.

Research has shown that students can become to their mobile devices. Too much screen time can change the brain and send signals of addiction. Science says that the gray matter in the brain (insula) responsible for empathy is impacted by the screen and the device’s lights.

Empathy should always be at the teacher’s forefront in planning any lesson. Since we are focused on implementing Empathy in a digital world, Digital Citizenship holds a home for these lessons.

 Teaching tolerance-Project or Games can be defined as short lessons representing and promoting social justice and diversity.  Create Digital choice boards for Padlet. Students can pick and answer with real-world examples or answer with meaningful solutions. Games can be designed during Advisory or lunch cycles so students can have activities that build empathy and promote movement (body language).

Be Fearless and Show Kindness-Club or Student Leader Panel designs lessons that give examples of the internet encouraging students to be compassionless. Then allow students to speak with sentence steam to promote what I would do and reenact with positivity. Students will use all platforms that they are proficient in when using. Flipgrid, Nearpod, and Padlet. We use Schoology and all Apple iPad applications like Keynote or Pages.

Bully Me No More!-Movie Trailers  Students will be creative and write and produce movie shorts that create significant learning through acting and visual displays. Students will use several applications to bring to life—WeVideo and Imovie, supported by the school district. Students can create campaigns and slogans to promote empathy!

Educators, Administrators, and Students can build on the seven norms of collaboration and how it looks when cultivating Empathy. Weekly meeting/reflection posts via our Learning Management System, Schoology, will allow students to create standards and reflect on their own behaviors and grow to be better. Willingly the student will learn to be social and have the right emotional pathways while using digital platforms and succeeding at real collaboration. Middle school students deal with so many pitfalls attributed to a lack of empathy or social connections with their peers. Students should work at making acts of kindness normal behavior. Digital notes of kindness can be shared just to start the day or week of cultivating empathy.

Tech tools that make sense on my edshelf and website

A few wonderful Applications


Mesa, Ali. (2019). Write to Express, Not to Impress. Retrieved from

Schank, R. (2021). Teaching Minds: How Cognitive Science Can Save Our Schools. Retrieved from

Dewar, G. ( 2014). Empathy and the brain. Retrieved from