At the recent
, 150 high school juniors from Idaho rallied around the theme of reimagining
education. With support from One Stone and
, teams of students huddled
on a covered hockey rink and were given a crash course in design thinking, then asked to solve a hairy problem in 24 hours.
Underpinning the event was the multilayered issue of education in Idaho. The Gem State is the least equitable for school funding relative to property
wealth, and they received a D+ grade in
. This is
compounded by the general consensus among students that as soon as you graduate from high school or college you leave Idaho and don't come back. Talent
As part of the empathy phase in the design process, we joined changemakers including Ted Dintersmith, Executive Producer of
, and Jeff Petty (
to meet with students to share our experiences and big ideas. We shared our
. One thinker who joined our session simplified a common yet poignant
realization that many GenDIY students face -- "I don't know what I want to do, and I don't know how to figure out what's available."
High school students need job experiences that are built into their personalized learning plan and by extension, their post high school plans. These
experiences should put students in the driver's seat, and should be immersive and experiential. And, most importantly these experiences should support
students in crafting their identity by engaging them in figuring out what what they're called to do, while educating them on pathway opportunities to get
However, for the the vast majority of students, this level of future focused learning isn't available. Or, it is, but only in isolated moments like a
career day a job shadow project.
So, how do students figure out what's available, when they figure out what the want to pursue? Supports for students still suck. But, there are some
emerging options that appear promising.
has supported Navigation 101 (now called
programs throughout the state of Washington. Both AVID and Navigation 101 curriculum contains career guidance.
Teachers, counselors and advisors lead students through opportunities to discuss:
Who are you? What are your interests and values? How do those align with what you want to do in the future?
Where are you headed? This includes your goals, future academic and career interests
How are you doing to get there? What are you doing today to set yourself up for the future?
builds on their
that explores ideas and stories of people living lives true to their interests and
passions. They urge readers to live in "Beta Version" -- to continually build better versions of yourself by creating and keeping pieces that work well,
and realize that life is to be lived as a work in progress, never as a finished masterpiece.
has online aptitude test dubbed
that brings in more than 90 government and business data
sources to help guide students to jobs that they're not only interested in, but will pay well. It supplies real-time data on job growth projections, salary
ranges, businesses hiring, etc.
Seattle-based design and innovation studio,
, a career discovery concept that is supporting students with a
personalized engagement platform.
are creators of
, an postsecondary platform that aligns a
student's interests with regional employment needs. MyBestBets recently received a
the Education Category.
For students with an interest in pursuing HigherEd,
is a platform that lets students actually try
out major and career paths, while simplifying tracking and advising students for schools.
is new website developed by Michelle Obama and advisors that includes interactive access, web to mobile communications and advice on post high school
. Students benefit from mentors, particularly those active in their target life goals.
is developed specifically for first generation and underrepresented students with the goal of connecting them to "caring colleges," scholarships, and
counselors and mentors.
builds mentoring relationships that empower students from low-income communities to
not only graduate from high school, but also develop college aspirations, navigate the college application process and build critical skills that lead to
Amidst these emerging supports, the most effective strategy is for students to have an
Someone whose job is to help students plan for life through visioning, goal setting, asking questions, being an advocate, and simply being there for
students. Every student deserves at least one adult who gives a shit.
So, what are students to do? Sara Matlock who attended the event in Boise said it best:
"If you have an idea for a project, find people who will work with you and get it done. Pursue your passions. Take charge of your learning and strive to
make your education about more than a diploma. Make education about your life and the impact you will be able to make on the world."
Young people are taking control of their own pathway to careers, college and contribution. Powered by digital learning, "GenDIY" is combatting unemployment and the rising costs of earning a degree by seeking alternative pathways to find or create jobs they love. Follow their stories here and on Twitter at #GenDIY.
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Tyler Nakatsu is Managing Editor at Getting Smart. Follow Tyler on Twitter, @post_west.