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The Real World

Written by Bill Laurienti

We talk a lot about preparing learners for the “real world.” Over the years, we’ve used terms like workforce readiness or 21st-century skills, but it’s always been an important part of our job as educators, and it’s certainly a focus in the SmartLab HQ.

Often, the best we can do in a classroom is simulate real-world situations and challenges. It’s a good start, but many educators strive to do more.

Enter Steve Tucker. Steve is the SmartLab Facilitator in the Hirschi High School SmartLab HQ in Wichita Falls, Texas. His SmartLab HQ has become one of the most successful student video production programs in the country, collecting 11 Telly Awards, a prestigious award for local, regional and cable video production (notice we did not say “student” video production).

Steve’s team has been contracted to produce a 12-part video training series for Wichita County. This isn’t a simulation, it’s an actual project for an actual client.

The students will produce a series that is both entertaining and informative and, along the way, learn about expectations and regulations of the workplace.

The project will benefit their community and earn money for their program. Most important, they must satisfy a client. That means clear communication, understanding of client needs and expectations, compromise of artistic vision—and let’s not forget about budgets and deadlines. It doesn’t get any more “real world” than this.

Not every SmartLab HQ program has the track record to take on such an ambitious project, much less get paid for it. But every SmartLab HQ can benefit from connecting with local businesses and communities.

In addition to videos, students can design websites, print ads, point-of-sale materials, menus, radio ads, and more. The students learn valuable lessons that just cannot be simulated, the community receives affordable talent, and the school gains priceless community support.

We are honored that SmartLab HQs can play a valuable role in fostering such connections.

Bill Laurienti

Bill Laurienti is a Content Marketing Specialist at Creative Learning Systems. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education (English) from Colorado Mesa University and a Master of Arts in Secondary Teaching from the University of California's Rossier School of Education. Bill came to CLS after 10 years in the secondary classroom. He believes SmartLabs are important tools for engaging unengaged students and helping them access careers they might not otherwise have imagined.

Case Study

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When the team at Jewell Houston Academy, a magnet school in Texas, looked for a STEM program, they wanted one that would not only engage students in STEM careers but could also teach conflict-resolution, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication skills.

Read about how the SmartLab HQ impacted both learners and enrollment.