How Digitability Has Leveled Up My Student’s Post-School Employment Options
Written by L. Wnuk Ed.S, a Life Skills Teacher with nearly 15 years experience teaching in high school and middle school classrooms in Kansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida and now in New Jersey.
As a special education teacher at the high school level, preparing my students to be independent both at home and in the workplace has always been a top priority. I would spend hours searching for curriculum materials that would help them transition to the workplace. However, most of the material that I found online would teach my students outdated work skills or it had very minimal expectations for student independence after graduation. I found most resources available were very limited in what they thought students with special needs would be able to do for employment. This was very frustrating and often left me trying to design a curriculum on my own, adding yet another task to my already full plate.
Luckily in my search, I came across Digitability, and now my transition program has made a complete 180. Finally, I had a plug-and-play curriculum to teach my students the skills that would not only help them find employment after school, but also sustain that employment, upskill over time and self-advocate.
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The curriculum covers all the basics such as communication, behavior, resumes, interviewing, and more, but all with a focus on the essential technology students also need to understand. For example, all of my students now know how to send an appropriate email.
As someone who uses email as a regular form of communication, I take for granted all of the nuance involved in sending an email appropriately and it’s been a process to get my students to this point. I have had countless emails from my students that had the entire email in the subject box. Additionally, I have had many emails go unanswered, which became especially problematic when we were in the virtual setting.
Now, with Digitability’s curriculum, my students have developed the practice of not only regularly checking their emails, but understanding that they need to communicate that they received the email and understand the content, or have questions--something as an employee I myself am expected to do. They can now compose a proper subject line, along with an email body that uses an appropriate font size, color and spacing. As a result, my students will be able to take this skill to pursue employment and then take that skill into the workplace to be effective communicators and team members.
Furthermore, Digitability has given my students the confidence to operate technology in the classroom setting, which will directly impact their confidence to utilize technology in the workplace. My students are now able to complete assignments in an array of different formats including Google Docs, which has had a positive effect on their grades and will directly impact their ability to perform higher level jobs in the workforce. That’s just the beginning! We’re also learning how to complete data entry activities through Digitability Work Simulations, where students will get hired for a job and then ultimately create their own portfolio to showcase to future employers.
These are just a couple small ways that the Digitability program has been transformative in my classroom. The bottom line is that my students' quality of work has improved, their ability to use technology has grown and they are able to communicate more effectively. With these skills, I am more confident in my student’s transition into the workplace. They will be prepared to work in fields that were previously thought to be out of their reach.
Learn more about Digitability’s award-winning life skills curriculum.