by Lee Taal on 10 Mar, 2021
When it comes to preparing students for life after high school, there are plenty of great tools out there. But how do they all work together and how can you and your students make the most of what they have to offer?
Perhaps you’re already familiar with portfolio tools like myBlueprint, Naviance, Kuder, Career Cruising (Xello), Big Future, or myOptions. These are fantastic tools that can help students drill down on a career path and plan their next steps. Which college is right for me? What are the grade requirements for admission? How much does tuition cost at each institution? These are some of the important questions that these tools can help students answer.
But what if a student doesn’t even know what they want to do after high school? Or, what if a student thinks they know, but they are working with limited information about their opportunities? That’s where ChatterHigh comes in.
ChatterHigh focuses first and foremost on student discovery and reflection. We believe that before students can decide which interest to follow, and what next steps to take, they need to be exposed to all of their options. By developing awareness of the world of opportunities, students will have a stronger sense of their own interests and goals, and will be better prepared and more confident in making those next steps.
“Essential precursors for informed career decision-making include both self-awareness and opportunity awareness. There are a number of resources, including ChatterHigh, that focus on self-awareness, helping individuals to ensure their chosen directions are grounded in an understanding of their own interests, values, strengths and preferences. ChatterHigh fills an important gap in supporting opportunity awareness as well. It exposes individuals to a wide range of post-secondary options, industry sectors and occupations. This is vital for anyone, but particularly critical for young people who may have had limited access to social capital and limited exposure to the range of possibilities that exist in post-secondary and labour market systems.”-Sareena Hopkins, Executive Director, Canadian Career Development Foundation (CCDF)
Current career education activities are missing something. Students are not fully aware of their options. They hear about options through career fairs, recruiter presentations, and brochures in the guidance counsellor’s office–all sub-optimal, pre-internet methods for engaging today’s teen. Or they’ll receive advice from parents, other family members, or peers. Perhaps there is some ad-hoc self-exploration using google, but how can they search for something they have never even heard of? Students are still faced with a significant information gap.
As Sareena Hopkins (Executive Director of the Canadian Career Development Foundation) explains, opportunity awareness is “vital for anyone” but even more so for youth “who may have had limited access to social capital and limited exposure to the range of possibilities” available to them.
ChatterHigh does career education differently. Using a fun and simple digital platform, we serve up questions within our Daily Quiz that require students to do some exploring.
Ideal for students in Grades 6-12, this adaptive ‘seek-and-find’ activity guides students to explore all major occupational clusters and ‘families of majors’ while building familiarity and fluency with post-secondary/career websites. Along the way, they’ll gain awareness of endless opportunities, and which ones spark their interest the most!
Once students are aware of their opportunities, they can begin to reflect and narrow down their options. This “self-awareness” piece, as Hopkins explains, is about “ensur[ing] their chosen directions are grounded in an understanding of their own interests, values, strengths and preferences.”
Many existing portfolio tools start with survey-style assessments (e.g. Myers Briggs, Holland Codes, Strong Interest) that yield clues to career clusters to consider, and then provide activities and tools to dig deeper. Without ChatterHigh, this is likely the best an educator can do to start the career exploration process. However, reliance on these clues alone to make decisions and conduct post-secondary and career planning can be limiting. It is hard for them to plan for something they have not been exposed to or considered.
ChatterHigh provides self-reflection and curation of interests as students explore, while still enabling them to discover new possibilities they may never have heard of. As they quiz and explore pathways inside and outside their stated interests, they’ll build an "Interests Profile." Dashboards and reports reflect areas of interest for programs of study, institutions, and occupations, and provide connections to relevant labour market information.
Opportunity awareness and self-awareness are, as Hopkins describes, “essential precursors for informed career decision-making.” The ChatterHigh activity is known for its ability to expose students to their opportunities and to engage them in self-reflection. So it was no surprise to us when research showed that students using ChatterHigh are 66% more likely to know how to figure out what to do after high school.
ChatterHigh teaches students real life-skills that help them plan their future. They learn to interact with professional websites, utilize resources, and research information–all while building knowledge, digital fluency, and confidence in themselves.
The results captured in ChatterHigh can also be incredibly valuable in starting conversations with parents and counsellors, and as information to bring into portfolio tools, which excel at detailed pathway planning, such as identifying post-secondary costs, prerequisite requirements and institution details.
All students need greater opportunity awareness and self-awareness to get to the decision-making stage. ChatterHigh is a research-proven complement to portfolio tools that enriches the career planning process.
Regardless of which path they choose, the experience of exploring real-world resources and building awareness will serve them long after they’ve graduated, helping them become more confident, informed, and hopeful young adults: ready for whatever life throws at them.
See if ChatterHigh is right for your school or district, by booking a demo.