The professional social media site LinkedIn has partnered with Nepris, a company that gives experts a platform to share their knowledge and experience with students via video.
The goal is two-fold: to educate students about the real-world applications of their school subjects and to provide them with information about possible career paths.
Nepris, a start-up hailing from Dallas, Texas, was founded in 2013, according to Tony Wan of edSurge. Since 2014, it has used LinkedIn’s API to disseminate requests to interested professionals who can then give video lectures.
Its co-founder and CEO, Sabari Raja, said:
As a K-12 startup, we don’t have access to millions of professionals. So we are putting this relationship to good use and building this pipeline of skills-based volunteering in Nepris.
A teacher will submit a request to Nepris detailing the subject they want to teach to their students, according to the Nepris website. Then, the company posts these requests on LinkedIn where professionals can volunteer to participate. Nepris chooses a volunteer who is a good fit for the teacher’s needs and arranges a time for the session.
60% of the company’s connections come through LinkedIn, and half of Nepris’ 4,500 professionals have signed up via the social media network.
There’s no money exchanged in the relationship between the two companies because it is a part of LinkedIn for Good, a program that seeks to use the company’s assets to improve people’s lives. They are also working with MentorNet and Year Up on similar projects.
Meg Garlinghouse, the head of LinkedIn for Good, said that Nepris bridges the gap between school and career:
The vision of LinkedIn is to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. Education is obviously a critical component of the pathway to economic opportunity.
Nepris does a terrific job helping inspire young people to start thinking about their dream jobs. They help make classroom work relevant to the real world which in turn keeps more students in school.
Ashere Potter, a math and science teacher at Aldrige Elementary in Plano, Texas, has exposed her students to 50 Nepris sessions over the course of two years. She says she’s introduced her students to experts in cats, beetles, fashion design, and prosthetics. Potter said:
It’s really about the real-world connection. Students see how the stuff they’re learning in class can benefit them when they go out in the real world.
One of her guests, Michelle Grewal, is a technology manager at Ava Anderson. She found the experience personally satisfying because it allowed her to encourage students who are intimidated by math and science. She said:
I was looking for a way to connect with students to inspire them the way other people helped and inspired me.
Interested teachers can sign up for a free account, or a premium account with unlimited lessons for $149 per year. Nepris has also obtained sponsors like Samsung and Randstad to help schools cover this cost. Randstad, which provides HR services, will be providing 50 teachers in Atlanta and Philadelphia with free access to the Nepris service.
Randstad’s North American Chief Marketing Officer, Kristin Kelley, said:
As a leading human resources provider. Randstad is acutely aware of the talent shortage in high-growth fields such as engineering, information technology, healthcare, life sciences and some areas of finances and accounting. This partnership aligns with our long-term goal of bolstering America’s STEM talent pipeline by integrating our networks’ real-world expertise with students’ STEM-based curriculum. We’re excited to introduce our experts to classrooms and to provide invaluable learning opportunities uninhibited by barriers of distance, time or cost of field trips.