In recent years, there has been a growing body of evidence highlighting the strong connection between social capital and economic mobility, as shown in studies conducted by Opportunity Insights and LinkedIn. Additionally, there has been a rise in the use of practical evidence, as demonstrated by organisations such as Basta and Climb Hire, as well as technology platforms like People Grove and Handshake, which have published impact reports on the role of users’ networks in securing interviews and job opportunities. These findings have sparked a greater emphasis on building social capital and expanding networks as crucial factors for individuals seeking upward mobility in their careers. As a result, organisations and educational institutions are now investing more resources in initiatives that foster networking skills and connections.
There is more and more evidence that efforts to improve education are based on frameworks of ideas, theories of change, and investment strategies that don’t take into account the social aspect of opportunity. I think this is because, in most conversations about innovation in education, skills are seen as the “what,” and speed driven by technology is seen as the “how.” However, it is essential to recognise that education is not just about acquiring skills and knowledge; it is also about fostering social connections and interactions. By neglecting the social aspect of education, we risk perpetuating existing inequalities and hindering the potential for true societal progress. Therefore, it is crucial to shift the conversation towards understanding the role of social capital in education and implementing strategies that promote inclusivity and equal opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their socio-economic background. Only then can we truly create more equitable and inclusive societies that benefit everyone.
Skills and technology
The fact that skills are important and technology has the potential to provide personalised content and experiences that enhance these skills is not necessarily negative. However, the “skills-plus-tech” algorithm lacks certain variables that are crucial for ensuring that students receive the necessary support and desired opportunities. For marginalised groups, the lack of access to technology and the necessary skills to navigate it further exacerbates the existing educational disparities. Without addressing these barriers, the potential benefits of technology in education may remain out of reach for these students. Policy changes should prioritise bridging the digital divide by providing equitable access to technology and investing in programmes that enhance digital literacy skills for marginalised communities. Additionally, targeted interventions such as mentorship programmes and scholarships can help empower and support marginalised students in their educational journey, ensuring they have equal opportunities to succeed.
For example, in a low-income neighbourhood where access to technology is limited, students may struggle to complete online assignments or participate in virtual classrooms, putting them at a disadvantage compared to their peers from more affluent areas. To address this, policymakers can allocate funds to provide laptops or tablets to these students and ensure they have reliable internet connections. Furthermore, implementing mentorship programmes where successful professionals from marginalised communities guide and inspire students can help break the cycle of educational disparities and provide them with valuable guidance and support.
Because of this, we are seeing changes that put people first in a world where skills and AI are supposed to be the stars. In a world that is becoming more and more dependent on technology, it is important not to forget how important human connections and guidance are in education. By putting people first, policymakers and teachers recognise that technology can help students learn, but in the end, it’s the help and direction of dedicated mentors that really matter. We can make sure that all students, no matter where they come from, have the same chances to do well in school by building these relationships and giving them the tools they need to cross the digital gap.
By working together in these ways, we can make society more fair and open to everyone. Putting an emphasis on mentoring and human relationships is good for more than one reason; it also helps meet the social and emotional needs of students. Researchers have found that having good relationships with teachers and peers can be good for a student’s mental health and well-being. Teachers can help students build resilience, empathy, and a sense of belonging by making the classroom a safe and caring place to be. Additionally, this helps them do well in school and grow as people. Putting more emphasis on human connections and guidance in schools can also help close the achievement gap between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
1. Advancements that prioritise students in career-connected learning over employers.
It is likely that this year’s election cycle will not address any significant discussions on how to enhance the education system. However, career readiness remains a bipartisan concern, regardless of the outcome of the election. Therefore, my focus will be on innovations that place students at the forefront of career-connected learning. One way to achieve this is by providing students with more opportunities for internships, apprenticeships, and hands-on experiences in various industries.
By connecting students directly with professionals and exposing them to real-world work environments, they can gain valuable skills and insights that will better prepare them for their future careers. Additionally, implementing mentorship programmes where students are paired with professionals who can provide guidance and support can also be beneficial. These connections and guidance will not only help students navigate their career paths but also provide them with the necessary resources and networks to succeed. For example, a high school student interested in pursuing a career in computer programmeming could participate in an apprenticeship programme at a local tech company. Through this hands-on experience, they would have the opportunity to work alongside experienced programmers, learning valuable coding techniques and problem-solving skills. Additionally, being paired with a mentor who is already established in the industry would provide them with guidance on career choices, networking opportunities, and access to resources such as internships or job openings. This comprehensive approach would give the student a
In our recent observations, I have come to the realisation that career-connected learning models tend to prioritise employer demand over the needs of students. Our efforts have primarily concentrated on improving the integration of social capital in career pathway models to promote fairness and effectiveness. Despite our progress, there is still much room for improvement in recognising the significance of social capital in providing students with valuable career exposure and experience.
The previous observation has shown that career pathways developed and evaluated from the perspective of employers prioritise in-demand skills while underestimating the importance of networks. This is due to the fact that networks offer greater advantages to individuals than corporations. In other words, companies require skilled individuals to fill job positions, but individuals also require networks and various opportunities in order to gain skills, gain self-assurance, have more job opportunities, and establish successful careers. For example, imagine a young professional who has recently graduated with a degree in computer science. While they possess the necessary technical skills, they lack a strong network of industry professionals. Despite their qualifications, they struggle to find job opportunities because companies prioritise candidates with connections and recommendations from within their networks. As a result, the individual is unable to utilise their skills effectively and faces difficulties in establishing a successful career.
This year, we are going to pay close attention to a number of career-related learning methods, including Backrs, Portal Schools, and Life Design. In practice, these models are all pretty much the same, even though they look different on paper. They put networking first and try to put the student’s experience first by incorporating purposeful research, meaningful relationships, and real-world experiences that fit the student’s interests. Additionally, I will keep up with the work of experts such as Matthew Hora, who looks into what students want and need from work-based learning in order to make it useful for them. By staying informed about the work of experts like Matthew Hora, I can ensure that the career-related learning methods I implement are tailored to the specific needs and desires of the students. Hora’s research helps shed light on the crucial components of work-based learning that make it truly beneficial for students. By incorporating purposeful research, meaningful relationships, and real-world experiences that align with students’ interests, these career-related learning methods can provide a well-rounded and valuable learning experience that prepares students for their future careers. The way to do it could be by:
1. Exploring Matthew Hora’s research on work-based learning: Delve deeper into the specific findings and insights from Matthew Hora’s research that have informed your career-related learning methods. Explain how this research has influenced your approach to designing a well-rounded learning experience for students.
2. The importance of tailoring career-related learning methods: Discuss the significance of customising these methods to meet the unique needs and desires of individual students. Elaborate on how incorporating tailored approaches can enhance student engagement, motivation, and overall success in preparing for their future careers.
3. Components of effective work-based learning: Highlight the crucial components identified by Matthew Hora’s research that contribute to meaningful work-based learning experiences for students. Discuss each component, such as purposeful research, meaningful relationships, and real-world experiences aligned with students’ interests, explaining their relevance in cultivating valuable skills and knowledge.
4. Benefits of career-related learning methods: Expand upon the advantages that implementing these tailored career-related learning methods can offer students. Outline how they can help develop essential transferable skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, and communication while providing practical exposure to industry practices.
5. Preparing students for future careers through well-rounded experiences: Emphasise how incorporating purposeful research, meaningful relationships with professionals or experts in relevant fields or industries, and real-world experiences aligned with student interests contributes to a comprehensive preparation for their future careers. Explore potential long-term benefits such as increased employability prospects and smoother transitions from education to employment due to these holistic approaches in career-related education.
6. Fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills: By engaging students in real-world experiences and encouraging them to tackle complex challenges, career-related education helps develop their ability to think critically and find innovative solutions. Through hands-on projects and internships, students can apply theoretical knowledge to practical situations, enhancing their problem-solving skills and preparing them to navigate the complexities of the workforce.
7. Promoting self-discovery and personal growth: Career-related education goes beyond imparting technical skills; it also focuses on helping students discover their passions, strengths, and values. By encouraging self-reflection and providing opportunities for exploration, students can gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their career aspirations. This self-discovery process not only aids in making informed career decisions but also contributes to personal growth and fulfilment.
8. Nurturing essential soft skills: In addition to technical expertise, employers increasingly value soft skills such as communication, teamwork, and adaptability. Career-related education recognises the importance of these skills and provides opportunities for students to develop and enhance them. Through collaborative projects, presentations, and interactions with professionals, students can cultivate effective communication, learn to work effectively in teams, and adapt to different work environments.
9. Bridging the gap between education and industry: One of the key advantages of career-related education is its ability to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application. By incorporating industry-relevant curriculum, internships, and partnerships with businesses, students gain exposure to the latest industry practices and trends. This not only enhances their employability but also ensures that they are well-prepared to meet the demands of the ever-evolving job market.
10. Empowering students to become lifelong learners: Career-related education instills a passion for learning and equips students with the necessary skills to adapt to a rapidly changing world. By fostering curiosity, encouraging continuous professional development, and promoting a growth mindset, students are empowered to become lifelong learners. This mindset not only enhances their career prospects but also enables them to contribute meaningfully to their communities and society as a whole.
Career-related schooling helps students get ready for their future jobs in many ways. It gives students the tools they need to succeed in the workplace and make the world a better place by giving them hands-on experience, teaching them how to think critically and solve problems, helping them learn about themselves and grow as people, teaching them important soft skills, connecting schools and businesses, and encouraging them to keep learning throughout their lives.
2. Brokering Access to Networks for Student Support, Navigation, and ROI: Expanding Models Beyond Information
This year, we are going to pay close attention to a number of career-related learning methods, including Backrs, Portal Schools, and Life Design. In practice, these models are all pretty much the same, even though they look different on paper. They put networking first and try to put the student’s experience first by incorporating purposeful research, meaningful relationships, and real-world experiences that fit the student’s interests. Additionally, I will keep up with the work of experts such as Matthew Hora, who looks into what students want and need from work-based learning in order to make it useful for them.
We believe that this is connected to two separate occurrences. Firstly, it requires a certain level of social connections to establish more social connections. In simpler terms, if an educator lacks a diverse network of professionals or mentors, the concept of facilitating connections may seem overwhelming or unattainable. Secondly, and of greater concern, the organisational structures and primary strengths of schools revolve around developing knowledge and skills rather than facilitating connections. Therefore, there is little support or motivation within the education system for brokering connections.
A skilled broker can play a crucial role in differentiating between successful and average education models, particularly given the increased scrutiny on the value of education. While there are certainly examples of effective broker roles, they are not typically considered a distinct category of innovation. Instead, potential strategies are often lumped together under the broad terms of’student support’ or ‘advising‘ and are thriving through smaller mentoring programmes outside of traditional school settings, such as Thread.
These strategies aim to provide individualised guidance and support to students, enhancing their overall educational experience. According to Inside Higher Ed, the significant increase in public funding to expand CUNY’s ASAP model is one of the most notable recent advancements in this field. According to MDRC’s study on doubling graduation rates, this model has demonstrated remarkable success in helping students from low-income families complete their college education. Although some may view ASAP as a retention programme, its fundamental approach is to provide students with a reliable network of supportive individuals, including advisors with manageable caseloads who conduct mandatory advising sessions, employment specialists who connect students with job opportunities, and part-time tutors.
This comprehensive support system aims to ensure that students have all the necessary resources to succeed academically and professionally. Additionally, the support system promotes a sense of belonging and fosters personal growth. Additionally, the support system encourages students to develop valuable skills and build a strong network within their chosen field.
This year, my focus will be on comprehending the novel innovations and governmental policies that aim to increase the number of brokers in students’ lives, rather than solely expanding access to academic content. These brokers come in various forms, and although Americorps funding is available, there is a lack of established organisational models or public funding to consistently support brokerage. This potential new wave of disruptive innovations, known as scaling brokers, is centred on providing more opportunities for experiences and connections rather than just academic resources. These scaling brokers aim to bridge the gap between students and real-world experiences, equipping them with the necessary skills and networks to thrive in their future careers. By focusing on expanding the number of brokers in students’ lives, the education system acknowledges the importance of practical knowledge and social connections in shaping a well-rounded individual. While Americorps funding provides some support, establishing sustainable organisational models and securing public funding will be crucial to ensuring the consistent availability of these brokers and their valuable services. This shift towards prioritising experiences and connections signifies a promising direction for education, as it recognises the significance of holistic growth beyond academic content.
Some tools and methods, like CommunityShare and District C, help connect K–12 schools to real-world learning. In higher education, teaching programmes like ASAP, InsideTrack, and Career Spring are making their way up. These examples might help you understand how to make agents’ roles more official, helpful, and bigger. It is very important to find strategies that make money and make sure that laws support these strategies. Some critics say that focusing too much on connections and overall growth could make academic content and mastery of key subjects less important, which could cause students to lack depth in their knowledge and skills. There’s no question that the rise of coaching interventions and the role of brokers in higher education are both good things. However, critics are right to be worried about the possible trade-off between overall growth and mastering academic content. It is important to find a balance between helping students make connections and giving them a strong background in core topics. Schools can make sure that their students not only have a wide range of skills but also a deep understanding of the material they are learning by combining the two in a good way. Ultimately, the goal should be to create a learning space that supports both academic success and personal growth in all areas. As an example, a school could start project-based learning programmes where students work together to solve problems in real life. This way of teaching would give students the chance to improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills while also learning more about the topics they are studying in depth. Hands-on projects that require both creativity and academic rigour can help students grow in all areas of their lives while still helping them learn academic material. This method not only helps students grow as people, but it also makes sure they learn the basics of core topics well, getting them ready for
3. AI-driven tools to enhance, not replace, human interactions.
Those who have used ChatGPT have undoubtedly encountered a unique type of conversation—one where a friendly little bot engages in a well-equipped exchange, equipped with vast knowledge and impressive analytical abilities. The use of ChatGPT has revolutionised the way we communicate and exchange information. It has become a valuable tool for expanding our social capital, as it allows us to engage in conversations that go beyond traditional human interactions. Through these interactions, we have the opportunity to learn from the bot’s vast knowledge and analytical abilities, further enhancing our own understanding and potentially opening doors to new partnerships and opportunities. The convenience and efficiency of this type of conversation have undoubtedly made it an indispensable asset in today’s digital age. In addition, ChatGPT’s ability to understand and respond to various languages and cultural nuances has made it an invaluable tool for fostering global connections. People from different parts of the world can now easily communicate and share ideas, breaking down barriers and promoting cultural understanding. Furthermore, the AI’s capability to provide personalised recommendations and suggestions based on our preferences and interests has greatly enhanced our decision-making process. Whether it is finding the perfect restaurant or selecting a new book to read, ChatGPT’s insights have proven to be reliable and helpful, saving us time and ensuring a more enjoyable experience.
Overall, the impact of ChatGPT on our communication and information exchange cannot be overstated, as it has transformed the way we connect, learn, and navigate the digital landscape.
1. The role of ChatGPT in bridging cultural gaps: Explore how the AI’s ability to understand and adapt to different languages, customs, and perspectives fosters cultural understanding and promotes inclusivity.
2. Personalised recommendations are revolutionising consumer decision-making. Discuss how ChatGPT’s personalised suggestions improve user experiences by tailoring options to individual preferences, allowing for more informed choices when it comes to various aspects such as dining, entertainment, or leisure activities.
3. Time-saving benefits of ChatGPT in daily life: Detail how the AI’s efficiency in providing reliable information and recommendations helps users save time on tasks like researching products or services, planning trips, or discovering new interests, ultimately enhancing productivity and freeing up valuable time for other endeavours.
4. Enriching educational opportunities through intelligent guidance: Highlight how ChatGPT’s insights can serve as a virtual mentor or guide that offers personalised learning resources based on individuals’ interests and goals. Discuss its potential impact on self-improvement journeys across diverse fields like language learning, career development, or hobby exploration.
5. Redefining digital connectivity with ChatGPT: Examine the transformative effects of AI-powered chatbots on communication dynamics between humans by analysing their influence on online interactions, social media engagement strategies, customer service standards within businesses, and overall digital landscape navigation.
It’s possible that most of the talk about AI in education in 2024 will be about how it can make things run more smoothly instead of how it might cut down on human connections. An important mistake was made here, especially since there are tales of a lot of lonely young people right now. Chatbots that are driven by AI may make education more efficient by giving students instant feedback and personalised learning experiences, but it’s important to be aware that they could hurt human connections. Virtual platforms are becoming more popular for interactions, and the lack of real-life interactions can make young people feel even more alone and isolated. So, it’s important to find a balance between using AI to improve education and making sure that human ties and social interactions aren’t hurt.
But it is expected that money will be spent on useful tools for teaching, learning, and advising that let students talk to chatbots, as well as on research into how AI can make conversations with real people longer. Because of this, my main goal this year is to find AI-powered tools that can help schools make links more easily and for less money. For example, a detailed example related to this could be the implementation of AI-powered virtual tutoring systems in schools. These systems can provide personalized and interactive learning experiences for students, allowing them to ask questions, receive immediate feedback, and access educational resources. However, it is crucial to ensure that these AI tools do not replace human teachers entirely but rather complement their role in the classroom. This way, students can still benefit from human interaction and emotional support while taking advantage of the efficiency and effectiveness of AI technology.
An additional note: The issue at hand has significant implications for policy. The ongoing discussions on how to regulate large social media platforms in order to safeguard the welfare of children and teenagers are crucial, but they must broaden their scope to anticipate what is to come. Conversing with automated bots is set to become the “social media” of the future. We are currently lagging behind in addressing the potential detrimental impact this could have on human relationships, interpersonal abilities, the concept of intimacy, and the overall wellbeing of communities built on mutual exchange. As technology continues to advance, it is important for policymakers to consider the long-term effects of conversing with automated bots on social media. While the regulation of large social media platforms is necessary, it is equally important to address the potential consequences of this shift towards automated interactions. Failing to do so could result in a society that lacks genuine human connections, where individuals struggle with interpersonal skills and rely solely on artificial intelligence for social interaction. Therefore, policymakers must take a proactive approach to safeguarding not only the welfare of children and teenagers but also the overall wellbeing of society as a whole.
Question 1: What are some advancements in education that prioritise students in career-connected learning?
- Advancements that prioritise students in career-connected learning models such as Portal Schools, Life Design, and Backrs.
- These models prioritise networking, purposeful exploration, meaningful relationships, and real-world experiences aligned with students’ interests.
Question 2: How can access to networks be expanded for student support and success?
- Expanding the role of brokers to promote student support and success.
- Models should focus on brokering access to new networks, not just providing information.
- Examples include CUNY’s ASAP model, which provides students with a reliable network of advisors, employment specialists, and tutors.
Question 3: How can AI-driven tools enhance human interactions in education?
- Investments in effective teaching, learning, and advising tools involve students in discussions with chatbots.
- Researching how AI can enhance interactions with actual humans.
- Funding the development of tools that facilitate student interactions with chatbots.
Question 4: What are the potential implications of AI-driven communication in education?
- AI’s ability to converse can provide intellectual connection and artificial intimacy.
- Investments should be made in tools that reduce expenses and difficulties in establishing and maintaining connections.
- Policy discussions should broaden their scope to address the potential impact on human relationships, interpersonal abilities, and overall wellbeing.