- Districts trying to expand career experiences for students in middle and high school have turned to digital technology to help limit the cost of certain efforts and still get students the exposure they need.
- According to eSchool News, Orange County, CA, has an OC Pathways initiative that aims to connect all students to career-based experiences and gives all teachers access to a platform called Nepris that allows them to host video conferences with career professionals.
- Even at the elementary level, video conferences can help students make real-world connections with things they’re learning, and Maureen Foelkl, a winner of the Presidential Award of Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, brought civil engineers to speak with her second- and third-graders in Oregon through Nepris during a project about flooding and erosion.
Digital technology and a globalized world means the classroom walls do not have to be the limit of classroom experiences. The internet can bring experiences from all over the world right into the classroom. Besides video conferencing with experts, teachers can take students on virtual field trips or connect them with students in other states or countries to collaborate on projects. Much of this work is fun and engaging for students, and it also makes very clear that what they are learning in the classroom is important in the "real world."
Teachers should take advantage of this connectivity for their own professional learning, too. There’s no reason a teacher should be limited to collaborating with teachers in her or his own school, and good ideas can come from collaborations with colleagues very far away.