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Nepris: matchmaker for STEAM learning
Nepris is a social community devoted to a particular type of matchmaking–to connecting teachers and students with a global database network of industry professionals and experts. It could also be a secret weapon for teacher librarians as we think of a broader notion of collection for a global, walls-free landscape.
Winner of a 2015 REVERE Award for Innovation from the Association of American Publishers, Nepris allows teachers to virtually invite industry professionals into the classroom as speakers, experts, mentors and project and presentation evaluators. Removing logistical barriers, it also offers industry professionals a way to share their passions–a way to offer community service and scale the impact of their educational outreach efforts beyond one-shot, career day activities.
The platform allows students of all ages to see the relevance of STEAM learning by introducing them to real people in real jobs with passions for their work and real interests in sharing.
Registered teachers create a profile and complete request forms (or modify existing forms) for industry visitors based on their curricular interests, allowing at least three weeks for connections to be arranged. The online form asks for a description of the class, for date and time options and other parameters for the interaction. Teachers complete separate requests for multiple class periods. Nepris offers technical support and frameworks on both the classroom and outside professionals sides, to ensure an engaging interactive session at the appropriate age level. Once a match is made and the expert accepts, teachers are encouraged to use the internal messaging system to communicate and further hone the plans.
Even if they cannot schedule a live session, teachers and librarians may view and use archived sessions. Teachers are encouraged to checkout the profiles of members and to view recordings of past sessions to check out veteran participants and gain ideas for future sessions. Archived Featured Sessions include interactions with prominent professionals, both corporate and nonprofit, from such areas as: veterinary medicine, global business, ecotourism, the cosmetics industry, aquaculture, medical imaging, cell culturing, interviewing and resume writing and many more!
Companies may choose to sponsor their own teachers, schools or districts. Organizations may create white-label versions to manage their communities. Individual teachers from elementary, middle or high school can sign up for a basic free version providing full access anytime.
Here’s the story of a successful Nepris experience on the elementary level.
About Joyce Valenza
Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza
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