VoIP Business and Virtual PBX
VoIP Communications

Access the Real World To Inspire Career Awareness and Readiness

In 2001, Mark Prensky coined the terms "Digital Natives" and "Digital Immigrants" to describe the differences between adults and students in using innovation. Educators are the "Digital Immigrants" who have to adapt and learn how to integrate research into their lives. Students are "Digital Natives" born into a culture and lifestyle where innovation immersion is the norm.

Although I know a lot of educators who argue that immigrants can use innovation in the same ways as the natives and that being a native does not necessary guarantee proficiency, I have found the Digital Immigrant and Native comparison to be helpful in understanding the essential differences in childhood experiences that separate educators from the students.

To explore these differences in perspectives, this occasional series features a discussion between me, a tech savvy old immigrant, and, GSD, a high school aged tech savvy native. This year, we've discussed the ideal research device, firewalls, innovation examples in the curriculum, and Cloud Computing.

GSD and I recently had the possibility to visit the Research and Integration Center at MicroTech, a innovation firm specializing in a variety of services from cloud computing, communications, network systems integration, social media analytics, and other products. We are thankful for this powerful learning experience.

I learned that there was software that could search through the content of videos in a foreign language, create English transcripts, and provide contextual searches. I learned that you could build a parking-spot sized server system that could meet the needs of two hundred thousand people in dozens of buildings with just power, a gardening hose for cooling, and an adequate Internet connection. I learned about the ever-growing field of social media management and analytics to understand what was being discussed on the Internet.

The research

The research was amazing, yes, however a huge part of what stood out to me was getting to see what jobs were available in the real world. It was eye-opening to see that there was a job in the real world similar to my work managing social media accounts for my school' student government.

And, it's very exciting to understand how these technologies can have life saving applications, just as in large-scale disaster relief. I can imagine being part of a response team someday that would be responsible for setting up a temporary network infrastructure for the relief efforts for, say, when a natural disaster cripples a large city.

How many more students

And how many more students would be inspired to pursue Science Research Engineering Mathematics careers if they had seen what I had?

Yet she has no idea that the audience she's built on the web and how she curates it is a skill that could earn her a job at a innovation firm someday.

More students should have real world opportunities to explore their interests and careers. I think there is a huge disconnect between schools and the real world. Little is talked about in regards to how research is changing traditional careers. Why not? I don't have the answer, nevertheless it's a question that's worth discussing.

Many high schools have internship programs and special academies that both educate and prepare students for specific careers. Many students apply or choose to enter these specific courses or programs and often graduate high school with certifications ranging from automotive to network administration. Career and work awareness is as well an emphasis in special education meetings with students and parents to prepare for life afterwards school.

What role can innovation serve in this purpose?

2) What role can innovation serve in this purpose? Many teachers in various subject areas use technologies like Skype in classrooms to interview professionals in the field.

4) And most importantly, for educators working with students with diverse socio-economic backgrounds, how can we help students understand that the careers they see in these research companies can be their future?

More information: Edweek