During the 2019-20 academic year, any high school will likely discuss students’ career-ready IT skills. Hundreds of teachers say connecting digital projects to real-world results and career-ready skills is an important rising trend in education.
As educators, we understand that real-world application is a key factor for engaging students with any course material. We‘ve observed that students who can demonstrate critical thinking and technical skills through real-world outcomes are more likely to succeed when applying to higher education or an important entry-level role within the workforce.
So how can schools deliver real-world experiences to students in a classroom setting? Let’s take a look at some of the ways BSD’s partner schools are achieving this today.
Students as In-House Tech Support
Several school partners have revealed that student-led teams are presently servicing some of their IT needs this academic year. At Barringer STEAM Academy, a cohort of seniors are becoming career-ready in their free time. The self-proclaimed “Geek Squad” spend designated class periods updating printer drivers, troubleshooting Smart Boards, and administering tablets. As a result, these students gain real-world experience while freeing up their IT staff to focus on critical services.
To help reduce the IT department’s workload, one school set up a student-monitored online ticketing system for school employees. In addition, the BSD team is presently working with two more schools to create online ticketing systems using the BSD Online Platform. These projects empower students to use the technical skills they learn in class to solve real problems for others.
Another approach to this trend that has been gaining momentum is developing partnerships between schools and local businesses. Of course, these relationships can vary from school to school, but we’ve seen success in a couple of specific forms:
One method is to help students find new talent for internships and full-time careers by providing tools. For example, ask a medium to big technology companies nearby if they have a community service program for their employees. Employees can mentor high school students who may not be aware of local employment prospects.
An authentic collaboration between students and local businesses is a BSD partner school connecting students with local small businesses to offer essential digital services. For example, teams of students helped build and maintain basic websites for small businesses with limited resources to reach customers online. Not only are they solving a real problem for small businesses, but students are also building a portfolio of career-ready work for post-high-school success.
Students in Leadership Roles
A school-based leadership program can give chances for students who lack access to real-world corporate partnerships. For example, two of BSD’s partner schools, String Theory Schools and the Pathway School, operate student-run cafes. This teaches students business skills, from customer service to handling payment, sourcing the raw material, and managing the online presence.
Teachers at Downey High School in California have found a new way to provide seniors leadership experience. This year, they’ve launched a unique enrichment program. A team of seniors is empowered to teach coding skills to younger students through a Video Game Development course. This format put students in the teacher’s role and was a great way to build confidence and communication skills that prepare them for life.
Directly Transferable Technology Skills
Finally, you can prepare students for career opportunities by teaching technology skills directly transferable to the workplace. BSD’s curriculum uses text-based coding languages from website developers and software engineers to data scientists and app designers. As a result, our students’ projects are based in the real world, and students can apply their conclusions to real-world challenges.
Are you a teacher or school administrator that would like to ensure that your students have the technology skills they need to be college and career-ready? Then, feel free to reach out to BSD Education. We’ll help you prepare your students for the ever-changing challenges of tomorrow and help them build digital portfolios that will follow them into their future ambitions.