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Pros: Diverse, relatable, and just-plain-fun video content will impress even the most blasé teen.
Cons: Basic online course technology doesn't match the quality of the creative content.
Bottom Line: Incredibly inspirational and helpful framework for building a sustainable, fulfilling future.
From full-length documentaries to YouTube series to social media, Roadtrip Nation offers a lot of ways to inspire students. If you're teaching a class or after-school program on career planning, consider facilitating the Roadtrip Nation Experience. This free online course uses a combination of self-reflection assignments and video clips from the Roadtrip Nation archive to help students consider who they are, what they enjoy, and what type of career they might want to pursue. As part of the course, students plan and conduct an interview with a professional in their community who has a career related to their interests. The course takes about five hours to complete, plus the time needed for the interview. Students will need a class code, plus a Google account or email address, to join the online course.
If you're looking for extra content or you don't have time to facilitate the online course, take a look at the Roadtrip Nation YouTube channel. There you will find helpful and inspirational videos such as "5 Jobs for Introverts," "What should I do after high school?" and "Should I become an auto technician?" These short videos could make excellent writing prompts or launch a classroom discussion. You could also assign students to pick one of the documentaries (streaming on the Roadtrip Nation website) and then write a reflection about how it impacted them. Subject-area teachers can use these resources to educate students on careers in their field, like STEM or the arts. Roadtrip Nation also offers in-person and virtual live events for middle and high schools; just reach out to schedule a customized event.
For over 20 years, Roadtrip Nation has been inspiring young people to find a career built on their personal interests and strengths. Roadtrip Nation encompasses a variety of platforms: a PBS show, a documentary series, a YouTube channel, an interview archive, a live-event series, an actual road trip experience, and a five-hour online course for high school and college-age students. Roadtrip Nation has also published a bestselling self-help book (Roadmap), a podcast, and a blog, and maintains a presence on a wide variety of social media platforms.
At its core, Roadtrip Nation is a documentary series, bringing the advice of successful Americans to those just starting their career journeys. The Roadtrip Nation framework focuses on three steps for success: 1) LET GO of the noise around you, 2) DEFINE what matters to you, and 3) BECOME who you want to be. By watching the videos, reading the book, and/or taking the online course, students are encouraged to stretch themselves and take steps to achieve success in a career they love.
Roadtrip Nation has assembled some of the most interesting and talented people in the United States, who prove that while it takes real passion to become successful in a field, it also requires work and commitment. Roadtrip Nation delivers advice in a very grown-up, professional way, treating students' anxieties and uncertainties with a reassuring, compassionate voice. This is a resource that students can return to again and again, at various stages of their lives. Be careful not to present the online course as a one-size-fits-all solution for "finding yourself." Instead, encourage students to listen to the voice inside their head and be open-minded about the experiences shared in the videos and lessons. Some students may want to follow Roadtrip Nation on social media for daily inspiration, while others may want to binge on the two decades' worth of video content. This resource is best approached as a life tool, not a curriculum or one-and-done school assignment.
Ideally, students need Google accounts to fully access all of the resources. Roadtrip Nation has partnered with Google to utilize some of the lessons and tools from Google's Applied Digital Skills curriculum to provide supplemental activities in the student course. There is a simple teacher dashboard for collecting student responses, but a Google Classroom integration option would be a nice upgrade. The built-in course assignments rely heavily on written responses, which may be a turn-off for some students. Teachers might consider using another response platform to collect video or audio reflections, or have students create presentations to share their interview experiences.