Last week, the e-collaborate team lead a session on connecting students globally at the Pennsylvania Council for International Education (PaCIE) conference. The conference was held in Philadelphia, PA and was an interesting mix of educators, administrators, superintendents, businesses leaders and those invested in education in some capacity. 

They had one panel discussion on how business and education sectors can work together.  The executives on the panel answered the question, “Would you hire my child?” It was candid as well as eye opening.  The ‘execs’ talked about the desirable skills they would like to see in their future workforce and the educators brought up the challenges they face as their budgets continue to get cut.  The resolution in this case is that business and educators need to work together to ensure that students are prepared for the future and that educators have the appropriate resources to adequately prepare students. However, the discussion did not address the role that non-profits such as e-collaborate can provide to ease this problem. Our programs are offered free to schools and provide rich learning opportunities to prepare students for the workforce, meeting many of the skill-sets the business community is searching for.

In addition, there were valuable sessions such as the K-12 roundtable discussion where participants brought up challenges they were facing in their own districts and everyone at the table helped come up with steps to solve the problem.  There were many other sessions that showcased study abroad trips, unique ideas on how to incorporate social media and journalism in the classroom based on real world events, how to use iPads and technology in the schools, and many more. 

In our session, we were happy to see every seat in the room full!  Building on the idea of the need for more empathy in the world, we explained how the eKWIP program and virtual internships does this by providing young people the opportunity to address social issues through global collaboration and volunteerism. It also provided an opportunity to share our ideas for the new virtual internship platform and gain insight directly from educators on program design.  The audience was very engaged and receptive to the presentation. We received feedback such as “I love this idea and hope to offer it to students!” and “This is a fabulous way to engage students!”  We are eager to begin working with PaCIE participants to provide our programs to a new set of students as we continue to grow.  

Stay tuned as we explore potential partnerships with colleges, K-12 connections, and other NGOs as we keep building our programs and expanding the e-collaborate community. 

Thanks!

Naina Boveja
Executive Director

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