Using Twitter data to help schools meet Gatsby benchmark 4: Linking curriculum learning to careers

Published on 10 Jan, 2020

Thanks to Janet Colledge (@careersdefender) for getting me thinking about a CEIAG conundrum that lurks behind Gatsby benchmark 4: Linking curriculum learning to careers. I applaud the work that has gone into forming the Gatsby benchmarks, and in turn, the work of careers leaders in helping schools meet them, but do wonder if students are under-served around this particular bench-mark if the link is not made quickly in natural flow of a lesson. This short blog piece is my first go at describing an easy-to- use tool for teachers in the classroom fed by crowd sourcing the data via Twitter.

The problem

Teachers lack sufficient careers knowledge (and hence confidence) to correlate learning outcomes with specific careers; roles where this learning is routinely applied or relevant. As such teachers struggle to forge meaningful links between curriculum learning and the world of work. While careers events and fairs are enormously important I would argue that making specific links between learning objectives and roles is likely to remains hazy if it’s not made explicit in the classroom as the learning topic is covered.

The Solution

I think the solution would come from crowd sourcing the data via an automated twitter account with synthesis of replies via a graphical interface in the form of a ‘role cloud’. The model only asks for three pieces of data;

(1) The knowledge / learning outcome expressed a short statement

(2) Roles where this knowledge is relevant

(3) Short explanation of how this information is used in the given role

An automated twitter feed posts all (1) in batches with the question “is this knowledge relevant to your role?” Respondents from across twitter reply stating (2) their role and (3) how. Replies are collated automatically for display as ‘role clouds’ much like ‘word clouds’ yet instead of showing clusters of frequently used terms, we’re looking for frequently cited roles presented around the learning objective. Display can be weighted using font size and/or colour in an accessible way, and the whole application could work for voice only. Selecting any given role from the 'role cloud' drills into a list of explanations which are then rated by teachers and students in response to the question is the link (Gatsby #4) now clear? These ‘role clouds’ are searchable by curriculum and learning objective for displayed (in the classroom) via a web-page.

Just to be clear..

I don’t believe in technology use for the sake of it, and nor do I believe the sole purpose of education is to create work ready drones. However, I do believe in appropriate use of tools where they can have real value, doing new things that improve how we make sense of an ever more complicated world. I’ve yet to consult on how the back end would be built, but can imagine the synonyms capability of Microsoft Cognitive Suite might come in handy. Having worked as a knowledge manager in disability and accessibility since 2016 I'm rusty on all things careers related and could do with knowing if my CEIAG brain still works. Let me know if you think this would be a useful tool and I’ll do my best to respond.

Andrew Manson @AndrewManson1