Website review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2021

NFTE Venture - Entrepreneurial Expedition

Practice and real-life examples complement business-building lessons

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Grades
9–12
Subjects & Skills
Social Studies, Critical Thinking, College & Career Prep

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Pros: Organized lessons take students from the theoretical to the practical, and short videos and entrepreneur spotlights provide multiple perspectives.

Cons: Pacing can be frustrating at times, and many examples point toward pie-in-the-sky results rather than presenting a balanced approach to business-building challenges.

Bottom Line: These modules provide a glimpse into alternatives to traditional college choices and career paths, but downplay risks.

NFTE Venture - Entrepreneurial Expedition lets students explore opportunities outside of traditional post-high school or college career paths. Teachers can use the lessons to supplement a broader study of economics and business or as stand-alone lessons to encourage students to think about nontraditional avenues to earning a living. However, since there's so much information and vocabulary to keep straight, it's probably best to run these as guided lessons versus independent work. That way, teachers are there to fill in the gaps and help students make sense of the content. 

The teacher dashboard provides quiz scores for each student-completed module, but it doesn't allow teachers to view student work or responses. Those who want to ensure that students are completing the modules with fidelity should plan on monitoring lessons in person or having students submit periodic screenshots, screencasts, or other materials that demonstrate their progress.

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NFTE Venture - Entrepreneurial Expedition is a series of modules designed to teach students the basics of starting a business. It's created by EVERFI in partnership with the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. The four 20- to 30-minute lessons include "Building a Balanced Budget," "The Entrepreneur in You," "Planning & Building a Business," and "Your Business Snapshot." Interactive activities walk students through the hypothetical process of becoming a self-employed entrepreneur. Students read, listen to, and watch information and then apply new knowledge to short quizzes and reflections. After they learn the fundamentals, students are tasked with creating their own business plan and are able to enter their information into a digital portfolio. Teachers can view reports on their students' progress using the dashboard, but that doesn't provide much detail.

The lessons contain quite a lot of information, and while budding entrepreneurs may be captivated, students who show little interest in starting a business might be bored or overwhelmed by all of the details in the process. Some slides move slowly and require students to remain on them for a period of time, but those who are so inclined can just skim right past others. 

These modules provide a useful and quick overview of some of the skills and activities involved in building a business, from more common topics like business plans to lesser covered aspects like marketing, team building, and pitching. However, they still offer a somewhat rosy perspective that glosses over the sacrifice and grit it takes to be an entrepreneur. For instance, the modules don't inform students of the percentage of small businesses that fail within the first few years, nor do they delve into the amount of debt many business owners accumulate when they're trying to get their enterprise off the ground. Even though the modules are designed to present a best-case scenario, it would be useful if more roadblocks were built in to present students with a more realistic idea of what it takes to be their own boss. 

Essentially, what students will get out of the lessons is directly related to whether or not they view the tasks and information seriously. Some parts of the modules force students to wait a period of time, while others require little or nothing in terms of time or effort. Overall, there's a great opportunity for students to practice decision-making and critical-thinking skills as they learn what it takes to start and run a successful business, which is, of course, much more than just a novel idea.

Overall Rating

Engagement

Informational slides intertwined with quizzes, short videos, decision-making activities, and written reflections keep each module moving at a decent clip.

Pedagogy

Since students are being asked to consider information and make decisions, the modules engage their critical-thinking skills. Elements of creativity will get students excited about their business model.

Support

Read-aloud support and the ability to review and adjust prior decisions mean that students can customize and tweak their portfolio. Pacing is inconsistent, which might be a concern for students who tend to rush.


Common Sense reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Instructional Technology Facilitator

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