Kind’s New Project Aims To Teach Kids Empathy
Empatico is the name of the project aimed to help students connect with other students beyond their own bubble
There is a little bit of a debate on whether empathy can be taught. Regardless of anyone’s stance, it is undeniable that empathy is an essential part to creating a better, loving world. As bigotry and division continues to rise, empathy is essential in holding the world back from going crazy. Kind’s Foundation wants to take initiative and teach empathy to students. Their new project is called Empatico and the goal is to get elementary school kids learning more about different cultures and societies.
$20 million dollars is going into this digital learning platform that also integrates video conferencing. Empatico consists of interactive lesson plans that schools all around the world can do together. Teachers in the U.S. are able to connect to other classrooms in distant regions, giving students a chance to get an intimate glimpse into the lives of other students in a completely different cultural setting.
The project started from Kind’s founder Daniel Lubetzky, who is a Mexican immigrant and whose father is a Holocaust survivor. Due to his familial history and his background, he truly understands the importance of empathy. Although ensuring that children get a “good” education is very important– it is also important for society to encourage children to develop emotional intelligence and understand people who are different from them. The platform is Lubetzky’s vision of making this happen. He wants to create a platform that allows classrooms around the world seamlessly connect with one another, just like how the best apps in the world work today.
The platform is free and teachers just need to have access to a laptop that has a camera with internet connection. Then, students are able to find other classrooms in a different area to chat and work with. What guides these interactions are what’s called “Spark” activities and other lessons. Empatico makes it easy for teachers to decide what kind of lesson they want. For example, “Community Cartographers” is a social studies course that gets students to map the area that they’re in and use a satellite map to see where their school fits into the bigger picture. Then two classrooms in completely different areas come together via videoconferencing and discuss their findings.
“Students are growing up in an increasingly interconnected world, where proficiency in math and science is not enough to thrive in a global economy. The change we hope to impart in tomorrow’s leaders is for him/her to be proud of their heritage, learn to understand other perspectives, and gain good judgment skills to discover that difference is not something to be fearful towards. With all that is happening in the world, we need to work with tomorrow’s leaders – our children – and teachers have an enormous responsibility and opportunity to spark that change,” explains Angela Jo, Director of Product at Empatico. “I also believe in the power of history and the preservation of stories to create change among today’s youth. Empatico activities are powerful tools for teachers to spark meaningful dialogue and interactions between classrooms. Students discover their similarities and differences with one another. We are creating an experience that invites friendships to form across countries.”
Thus far, they have already managed to reach teachers in multiple countries. Their goal is to reach over a million students in at least 25 countries by the year 2020. Although English is the spoken language for now, they hope to create networks between schools that speak entirely different languages. It’s all part of the plan to scale up.
Kind’s mission is to “make the world a little kinder, one snack and one act at a time.” Thus far, they have done a great job in appealing to taste buds and trying their best to make the world a better place. Empatico may be an innovative way to ensure that our future looks brighter than our present.
Image via Shutterstock, Classmate Knowledge Lesson Concept