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Give Yourself a Break: Virtual Mindful Minutes for Students and Teachers

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Listen and learn : Snapshot

Snapshots are a pairing of two 20 minute presentations followed by a 5 minute Q & A.
This is presentation 1 of 2, scroll down to see more details.

Other presentations in this group:

Dr. Farah Vallera  
Kseniya Volkova  

Learning requires acquiring knowledge skills, and appropriate attitudes/beliefs. Educators do well with the first two but don't often incorporate attitudes/beliefs into learning. The pandemic has increased stress and exhaustion. Hear how Mindful Minutes helped learners acquire and share attitudes/beliefs related to content and dealing with remote instruction.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Canvas for Students or Teachers or access to website
Topic: Social emotional learning
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Model for colleagues the identification, exploration, evaluation, curation and adoption of new digital resources and tools for learning.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
Additional detail: Student presentation, ISTE author presentation

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Building competence in any subject requires the combination of knowledge acquisition, skill building, and the development of appropriate attitudes and beliefs (KSABs) aligned to the subject or content areas. Educators do well with the first two but do not often incorporate attitudes and beliefs development into their educational practices. All learners also need a toolkit...a collection of tools, technologies, strategies, tips, hints, and inspiration to further develop those KSAB competencies. The toolkit can help learners develop new KSABs or build onto existing ones by providing shortcuts and frameworks for learning.

In context, a toolkit can be used to help navigate new and unfamiliar learning environments. The pandemic has caused high stress levels and exhaustion due to the shift to remote instruction and navigating new learning environments that were overwhelming to many. All individuals need to find ways to make sense of this new environment. Instructors and students alike have had to adopt or adapt to “new normal” learning practices, and many did not have the necessary KSABs to make smooth transitions. Taking time to develop appropriate attitudes and beliefs related to subject matter and stress management in the new learning environment can positively impact students and learners of all ages and backgrounds. Adding those attitudes and beliefs to the toolkit can help them in future situations.

This presentation will talk about how instructional design and instructional technology graduate students (many of whom are practicing teachers) participated in weekly “Mindful Minutes” - a place to develop the more "intangible" attitudes and beliefs of instructional design to add to their designer toolkit. Mindful Minutes were designed to do two things: 1) develop necessary attitudes and beliefs related to the content area (i.e., instructional design and instructional technology), and also 2) to have students use those strategies to take time for themselves in this stressful time and environment.

Mindful Minutes were built in a choice grid in the Canvas LMS, as our University moved online due to COVID. The technological aspect was kept simple so the students could focus their time and attention on interacting with the content. Students selected topics in any order they chose, where they read personal stories about each topic, watched a video related to the science behind its importance or selection, were provided with a skill to put the idea into practice, and viewed memes or motivational quotes to demonstrate the idea visually. They were asked to keep track of their Mindful Minute practices, either through a virtual journal, blog, videos, or even writing on napkins. Learners were not expected to submit records of the practices for a grade but were asked every week if they wanted to share and reflect on these practices with the class. Students were also asked if the practices were helpful or not worth the time to complete. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive and appreciated; and regardless of there not being a related grade or assignment, all students tried the practices and shared out their experiences with gratitude and excitement.

The purpose of this session is to demonstrate the success of the Mindful Minute practice. By the end of the session, participants will:
1) Understand how Mindful Minutes helped learners acquire attitudes and beliefs related to instructional design and technology content and helped them deal with the transition to remote instruction.
2) Examine student feedback as well as hear how the learners used these practices for their own students’ development (and how they can incorporate these practices as well).
3) Participate in a Mindful Minute with fellow attendees.


Content and Activities - Participants will: 1) see and hear about the purpose and development of the Mindful Minute practices (both related to content and technology), 2) learn about how the students practiced, recorded, and reflected on them, 3) hear about the success of the activities and program as grad students had their own students use Mindful Minutes as well, and 4) attendees will have access to the Mindful Minutes and the practices associated with them, where they will participate in one of the Mindful Minute practices in a group and return to reflect on the experience.

Time - The presentation will spend about 8-10 minutes on each of the topics above with time for questions and exploration of a Mindful Minute.

Process - In order to keep attendees engaged, they will be encouraged to ask questions, interact, participate in a Mindful Minute, and reflect on the process as a group.

Supporting research

Bouton, B. (2016). Empathy research and teacher preparation: Benefits and obstacles. SRATE Journal, 25(2), 16-25.
Boyer, W. (2010). Empathy development in teacher candidates. Early Childhood Education Journal, 38, 313-321.
Kolb, D. (2015). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
Li, C., Ni, H., & Stoianov, D. (2015). Meeting the psychoeducational needs of ethnic minority students: A discussion of the necessity of multicultural competence. School Psychology Forum, 9(2), 88–95.
Lu, Y.E., Dane, B., & Gellman, A. (2011). An experiential model: Teaching Empathy and cultural sensitivity. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 25(3/4), 80-103.

More [+]


Dr. Farah Vallera, Lehigh University
Kseniya Volkova, Lehigh University

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