For the under-resourced student, many factors often offer challenges to nurturing passions or maximizing opportunities. Such students rely heavily on opportunities at school for exposure to ‘real world’ progress such as developments in technology and innovation in industry. These students might not have access to the internet at home, so providing such access at school becomes more essential for this group of learners. Of course, all students benefit from these interactions. Some, however, would have no way of accessing opportunities independently.
Many schools face constant resource constraints in terms of time, specialist knowledge, and cost. It is essential that for-profits and non-profits interact to the greatest extent possible with schools thereby bringing enhanced learning opportunities to K-12. Additionally, community involvement in schools becomes even more essential should budgetary restraints put further pressure on eliminating at-school opportunities. Where access to skills such as coding can be provided free or for a reasonable cost, all parties concerned will benefit. Guest speakers who can be engaged at little to no cost should be sought out. Offering new perspectives and ideas can ignite specific interests in students.
One such for-profit company, Bitsbox (https://bitsbox.com/teachers/), is able to offer coding opportunities to students at a very reasonable rate. Additionally, Bitsbox has recognized the importance of offering opportunities for teacher interaction through a recently created teacher Facebook page. Another example of an institution tailoring its specialist knowledge to the K-12 learner is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA has developed captivating visual data sets on their SOS Explorer platform (https://sos.noaa.gov/sos-explorer/about-sos-explorer/). This could easily be deployed in schools’ redesign of their libraries into media centers. An excellent example of a university expertly adapting their knowledge base to K-12 is The Rockefeller University and their recent innovation named Science Saturday (https://www.rockefeller.edu/science-saturday/) where the campus is open to young scientists for amazingly engaging presentations and workstations on a Saturday in May each year.
The essential argument here is to encourage both for-profits and non-profits to imagine how they can tailor an offering of what they do for the benefit of K-12 learners. Surely doing so would make for future leaders who are fully engaged and well equipped to contribute to their, and our, future!