I am fascinated with all of the Virtual Field Trip offerings for curricular areas such as science and history. There are also great interactive online field trips to augment novels that students are reading. However, my personal “quest” for this assignment was to find Virtual Field Trips that would work for career exploration. There is a great web article at www.specialpopulations.org which describes how a VFT can be designed and used for a vocational curriculum. The rationale comes from a National Health Interview Survey which found that “79% of adults without disabilities were working at the time they were interviewed and that only 37% of those with disabilities were employed” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2005). This is a dire fact that indicates special education is not putting enough effort and resources into transition from school to work.
Career Virtual Field Trips would be an incredible resource for working with students with disabilities during the transition phase from high school to work or college. Many students come into high school without a clue as to what they will do after graduation. Coming from a small town with limited opportunities to view different types of jobs they may be limited in their ideas of jobs that are available. The other side of this problem are the students who may have their hearts set on a career that does not match their skill level or potential.
I was so excited as I typed in my searches for “career virtual field trips”. Many different search attempts using many combinations of words has not resulted in much beyond web quests. What I was looking for were VFT’s with photo, audio and video opportunities for students to see different job settings. I finally came across career videos at College Grad.com http://www.collegegrad.com/videos/ . I also found a great set of videos from Career Explorer .net for students to view on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=CareerExplorer. This is important because of the time constraints and the ease that a VFT offers to visit many different work sites. It is also very important when looking at the special education population where there may be physical disabilities or behavioral issues to address.