3C Institute and Zoo U are featured in the Institute of Emerging Issues’ December newsletter. The Institute of Emerging Issues is a public policy organization that brings people together around complex issues such as education and health to ensure North Carolina’s future competitiveness.
The newsletter focuses on social-emotional learning (SEL), including defining social-emotional health and linking SEL with 21st-century skills and STEM careers. 3C Institute is noted as offering a new approach to SEL through Zoo U—an engaging, evidence-based online game that assesses and teaches social skills. Of 3C Institute and Zoo U, the newsletter says:
Engaged in a wide range of efforts to promote positive social, emotional, and mental health, 3C Institute in Cary, North Carolina, has developed a new approach to bridging the research-practice gap. Founded in 2001 by Dr. Melissa DeRosier, 3C’s focus is on improving the social-emotional health of children and families, primarily through the delivery of social skills interventions in schools and clinics. 3C Institute integrates social development research into game-based platforms to create effective and engaging intelligent systems for assessment and learning.
The institute’s Zoo U, for example, is an interactive, evidence-based online game designed to assess and enhance elementary students’ social skills, while simultaneously tracking their progress toward specific goals. The game focuses on six core social skills: impulse control, empathy, initiation, communication, cooperation, and emotion regulation. In Zoo U, students navigate social situations in an engaging virtual school for zookeepers-in-training.
Studies show that programs enhancing social-emotional health, such as those developed at 3C Institute, result in significant benefits for students, schools, and society, including:
- Safer schools with fewer incidents of bullying, discipline problems, and violence;
- Lower truancy rates and increased student engagement;
- Greater ability to persist in secondary and postsecondary education; and
- Higher test scores and grades.