Richmond students win national prize for being 'most informed'

Some kids in Grades 6 and 7 are already pondering their future – or, if they’re not, the Richmond School District is trying to get them thinking about what they want to do as adults.

The teaching staff at Spul’u’kwuks elementary took it one step further, getting their Grade 6 and 7 students to use an online platform to learn about what careers they might be best suited for.

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The hard work paid off, and, entering a national competition, they researched so much information that they were named the “most informed” school in their size category in Canada.

To learn about possible careers, the students did daily quizzes with 10 questions. In total, they ended up searching 12,328 web pages on career profiles and post-secondary education options – this was three times as many searches as the second ranked school.

On Thursday morning, they were presented with a classroom video conferencing kit, provided by Cisco, and a ViewSonic screen from Compugen, with a combined value of $27,000.

Lee Taal, who created the ChatterHigh learning platform, said because of the “tsunami of information” available on the internet, youth actually have trouble finding the right information.

By starting out with the daily quizzes that then lead to websites that give the answers to career-related questions, students garner the right type of information about possible future jobs, Taal explained.

The platform has “planted seeds” into the students’ minds about career opportunities, and this will continue to grow.

The challenge for educators who are trying to guide their students towards a career, explained Elaine Stapleton, principal at Spul’u’kwuks, is pressure from outside of school and the expectation of academic success.

But not only have students accessed ChatterHigh at the west Richmond elementary school, many parents were logging on, doing the quizzes and learning about educational opportunities.

Spul’u’kwuks elementary is in the ‘AA’ category – with schools sized 100 to 500 students. They were competing with other elementary schools as well as middle and high schools.


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