Holding the Digital Safe Space
Social-emotional learning: Peter Kraft Interview Part 1
This is Part 1 of 2 of this interview. View Part 2 here.
Hear more from Peter Kraft and other innovative analysts, thought leaders, and educators at the 2018 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC), January 23-26 in Orlando, Florida. Learn more here.
by Dr. Rod Berger
Character education and social-emotional learning are becoming necessities inside K-12 and higher ed. There is a basic need developing for content to be presented in a way that supports the overall psyche of students. Peter Kraft, CEO of Evolution Labs, understands it can be daunting for students, and adults as well, to seek help in person by going to a school’s counseling office or raising their hand during a presentation. That’s why he’s worked with his team to offer engaging content spanning a plethora of topics in learner-driven digital interfaces. Their material, designed for adolescents, parents, and educators, gives schools and universities the opportunity to provide deeper education on critical matters that don’t always get adequate coverage due to restricted time or resources.
Peter Kraft co-founded Evolution Labs with Tracy Howe and Peter Tomassi in 2015 to change the way students engage with school and conversely, the way schools engage students. As their website explains, “We know learners share many of the same desires and goals we had decades ago as students, but their world is rife with tools and technology that materially shape those desires and goals… And that’s a world we must step into to reach them.”
Evolution Labs offers a full suite of educational lifecycle web and mobile products. These include enrollment and retention tools for colleges & universities, student-athlete success programs for intercollegiate athletics, and K-12 character development programs encompassing social & emotional learning (SEL).
As Peter states, “The challenge is to take our client’s existing experience and content that has already proven effective for them and translate that into a learning environment that is gamified, that’s more interactive, so that students are more interested and engaged in the content.” While this works with standard curriculum and subjects, this approach is especially effective when dealing with sensitive content and topics like bullying, cyberbullying, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, respect issues, and incidents of racial intolerance.
For higher ed, the company’s S360 and P360 programs provide immersive web and mobile content to prospective and current students (and their parents), driving inquiries, apps, yield and student success for colleges and universities around the country. SA360 offers success and mental health content to student-athletes to help them thrive on and off the field. And in K-12, the company’sSuite360 program utilizes web, mobile app, mobile messaging and social media to help K-12 students and parents navigate a range of issues, from social and emotional learning to character development and health & wellness.
Evolution Labs recognizes that having enough content experts isn’t the issue; there are already content experts on cyber bullying, academic integrity, test-taking anxiety, and a myriad of other issues working with schools every day. These experts are just looking for the tools to create the conduit to get the message across into the student’s world. Evolution Labs gets them to embrace their new programs by encouraging them to collaborate on the content, and then use the tools they’ve created as the conduit.
About Peter Kraft:
Peter Kraft is presently the CEO and Co-Founder of Evolution Labs. Prior to Evolution Labs, Peter worked for Lehman Brothers (circa 1990, on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center). In 1993, Peter founded CMG (publisher of Link Magazine, the number-one college magazine in the country with more than three million readers). It was here he met Tracy Howe, where together, Peter serving as President & Publisher and Tracy as VP Sales & Marketing, the two of them built CMG into powerhouse marketing brand for clients targeting the elusive youth and college market.
In 1997, Peter and Tracy worked together to facilitate the sale of CMG to College Television Network (custom news network in partnership with CNN). In 1999 Kraft and Howe played integral roles on the transition team when CTN was acquired by Viacom, effectively converting College Television Network to MTVu.
In 2000, Kraft and Howe co-founded GoalQuest. The company provided custom recruitment, enrollment and retention programs for colleges and universities around the country. During his seven year tenure at GoalQuest as Co-Founder & President, Peter delivered more than 1,000 programs for more than 500 clients, ranging from University of Alabama to University of Missouri to Loyola Marymount to American University. In 2007, Kraft and Howe facilitated the sale of GoalQuest to private equity firm Halyard Educational Partners.
From 2009 to 2013, Peter founded two more companies focusing on fan engagement and student athlete success for Intercollegiate Athletic Departments. Clients include The Ohio State University, Temple University, Wake Forest and many others.
Follow Peter Kraft on Twitter
Note: Peter Kraft will be presenting at the 2018 Future of Education Technology Conference (FETC) which runs from January 23-26 in Orlando, Florida.
This article was originally published in the Huffington Post by Dr. Rod Berger
This post includes mentions of a partner of MindRocket Media Group the parent company of edCircuit