It was my great pleasure and privilege to lead a round table session at this year's Scottish Learning Festival TeachMeet.
The topic for the discussion - Opportunities for Learning in 'The Real World' - was prompted by my recent experience of having pupils involved in learning experiences outside the school environment. I later used one example, the Nuffield Research Placement Scheme, for the subject of a 2-minute Nano-presentation.
I opened the discussion by telling the group of my background as a secondary school physics and science teacher, and outlining the opportunities available with in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines to students via organisations such as STEMNet, The Scottish Space School, Nuffield Research Placements and the Ogden Trust Scholarships.
Having described the experiences of two of my pupils on such schemes last year, I asked the group if they were aware of similar opportunities in their own subjects and sectors.
One of the group described opportunities available in the media industry via the BBC, who run a schools' radio project nationally and make a range of experiences available through various activities at their 'Waterloo Road' studios facilities in Inverclyde.
Another colleague spoke of a project where a local hair dressing business had been involved in helping train primary 7 pupils to learn skills and provide a service in their school.
Further discussion raised the issue of a lack of similar opportunities across the full range of subject areas and sectors, and the need for more co-ordination to link schools and pupils with bodies able to provide these types of learning experiences.
A suggestion was made that creating a database could be maintained to help schools, classes and individual pupils identify opportunities to undertake these type of learning experiences, linking them with organisations across all sectors.
It was noted that where such ventures are undertaken, it is desirable that the pupils should be involved in the planning process, prior to the main activities of the project.
The group agreed to look into organising 'Real World Learning' opportunities for their pupils, and pledged to share their experiences.
If you are involved in such a project, or are planning one, I would be very grateful if you would share what you are doing by adding a comment or a link below.
Thanks for your interest.