I have to admit that when I saw the topic of this week for the Deeper Learning MOOC was “student internships,” I was terribly interested. I did not make the connection between internships and deeper learning. I did not see the topic as relevant to me as a middle school teacher.
I quickly realized how wrong I was as I began to explore the topic on the MOOC and through my own investigations. I was impressed with the many students who spoke so eloquently and enthusiastically about their internship experiences. Clearly, they gained so much more than a traditional classroom education could provide. It was also evident that their experiences will remain with them throughout their lives.
One thing I learned about successful internship experiences is that they require detailed planning and preparation. Schools need to develop and maintain relationships with mentors throughout the internship experience. This helps to ensure that the goals of the internship are met.
Although I was beginning to see the value of internships, I still wondered how they could apply to middle school students. After investigating I found some possibilities that are explained in my Storify below. I am ending the week believing that internships are essential to a 21st century education.
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