Schools want to provide opportunities for students to develop the skills and competencies to prepare them for a productive future. Such opportunities include connecting with students’ lives and interests, and engaging them in solving relevant and authentic problems. Project-based learning, maker learning, and community based learning opportunities are promising, but can be challenging to implement. Additionally, partnerships with local businesses and other community partners can provide service learning, internships, and apprenticeships for students but can be difficult to organize, sustain and scale. For all of these rich real world learning opportunities, it districts are working to ensure that all students have equitable access.
Educators responded this challenge is urgent
Educators responded this challenge is widespread
Educators responded their schools have made progress on this challenge
“One piece that's really caught our eye here, recently, is our kids are asking for real-world connections to every single course that we're crafting. Asking, for example, “Is there a way for me to go into a hospital and view an open-heart surgery?" as it relates to their biology course. They're looking for learning experiences to be more authentic.”
“We're trying to leverage internships for our students, which I think are super beneficial for kids to get on-the-job experience. We're trying to pressure some of our local businesses to put some skin in the game...We're holding them a little bit more accountable and asking them to give back. If they truly want to create an employable workforce, then what are they going to do to help create opportunities for these students to learn on the job as well?”
“With the focus on PBL, and having the authentic experiences with projects, then how do we find businesses for our teachers to partner with?”
Real World Learning - From Digital Promise's Real World Learning Challenge Collaborative, explore a framework and tools to help you engage students in authentic, relevant problems, projects, and experiences that develop career awareness and readiness.
Project-Based Learning topic page - From Digital Promise, this page provides an introduction and key findings from the research on PBL outcomes and implementation, including links to additional resources.
Maker Learning Leadership Framework - From Digital Promise, this framework helps school leaders create sustainable maker learning programs.
A School Rooted in Real World Learning - From Edutopia, this blog describes a K12 school focused on arts and sciences to foster students’ passions and prepare them for future success.
The Value of Internships: A Dose of the Real World in High School - This article from Mind/Shift illustrates how secondary students can benefit from authentic internship opportunities.
10 Innovations that Support Students’ Community Contributions - From Getting Smart, this blog shares and links to global examples of students making real contributions to their communities.