This post could apply beyond teens as it really is about: how does someone put their best foot forward when looking for a job in highly competitive marketplace. Given the economic environment we’ve seen in the past few years this certainly is a theme that continues to resonate. Zoom in on St. Clair Shores, Michigan a suburb of Detroit and the challenges of a globally competitive marketplace become starkly more real. Tasha Candela, a business teacher at Lake Shore High School, used this reality to spark her students and create a project they could use immediately to be successful in looking for a job. The project asked students to conceive and create an electronic job-seekers portfolio that could easily be shared with prospective employers whether they are seeking a summer job or preparing to leave high school.
We came across Mrs. Candela’s project when it was submitted to the Partners in Learning 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum (IEF) which I’ve posted on a few times in this blog. Mrs. Candela is no stranger to accolades as she was recently acknowledged through the 2011 PBS Teachers Innovation Awards as well as being named the 2011 Outstanding Technology Using K-12 Teacher of the Year by the Michigan Association for Computer Users (Congrats!). Mrs. Candela will be representing her school at our 2011 U.S. Innovative Education Forum this summer in Redmond, WA. I think what sets apart an educator like Mrs. Candela and project like career portfolios is that it is relevant, tangible and very real. The results will help you find a job!
The purpose of this project was to transform traditional paper portfolios and resumes into electronic career portfolios. These digital works are housed on Weebly web sites for students and the project aligns to National Educational Technology Standards as well as Michigan’s new high school reform curriculum that mandates an online learning experience. Students used flip cameras, scanners, PowerPoint, Windows Live Movie Maker among other technologies to bring these portfolios online (here is Mrs. Candela modeling the end goal the students are seeking).
Teachers like Mrs. Candela seldom rest on their laurels and in this tricky education budget climate when elective courses (and thus teachers) are being threatened to be cut, Mrs. Candela marshaled her students, produced the video below and sent it on in an impassioned letter to her governor emphasizing the importance of career and technical education in our high schools. This career portfolio project emphasizes the practicality and direct application of the skills and experiences gained in courses like this.
I look forward to meeting Mrs. Candela in Redmond at the 2011 U.S. IEF this summer and learning more about this project first hand.