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Roadtrip Nation

Roadtrip Nation

Written by Erin Wilkey Oh
July 18, 2011

Why did you become an educator? Who encouraged you to follow this passion? Was there a specific person in your life who helped you identify your calling? Many of you can probably name someone who inspired you when you were just starting out. Educators are fortunate in that we spend our entire childhoods surrounded by people who do what we ultimately choose to do. Roadtrip Nation is about helping every student connect to another person who shares the student’s passion. It empowers young people to identify what inspires them and to seek out role models in order to learn from their stories. 

The Open Road
Roadtrip Nation began in 2001 with four college friends who had no idea what to do with their lives after graduation. The four friends bought an RV, painted it green, and took off across the country. The goal of their trip was to find and interview people who were living lives built on what they loved. The four friends hoped that through this process, they too, would discover the path to a life built on inspiration. At the end of this original Roadtrip, the friends realized they wanted to help others create their own paths to live an inspired life through this journey on the open road. The Roadtrip Nation Movement was born.   

Following this first Roadtrip came a book, a documentary filma PBS television series, and a non-profit educational curriculum called The Roadtrip Nation Experience.  

The Roadtrip Nation Experience
The Roadtrip Nation Experience is a project-based curriculum for middle school, high school, and college students.

The Roadtrip Nation Experience helps students identify their interests, make connections in their own communities, break out of their comfort zones, develop 21st century skill sets, and build roadmaps for a life that they are truly passionate about.

The curriculum blends experiential learning opportunities with digital tools for a blended learning experience. There is a hands-on workbook, in which students can connect the big ideas of the Roadtrip Nation curriculum to their own lives. The online component gives students access to a vast interview archive as well a social network, where students create their own Roadtrip Profiles, blog about the process, post video and audio recordings of interviews, and interact with their peers. The Roadtrip Nation Experience is a digital media project. Students present their work online through images, video, audio, and writing.

The three sections of the Roadtrip Nation Experience guide students through the process of translating the theoretical content into experiential learning opportunities. Section 1, Exposure, introduces students to the interview archive, helps them identify major themes in the collection, and leads students toward identifying themes that interest them. Section 2, Self-Construction provides students with an opportunity for self-reflection as they explore their interests and identify the themes that inspire them. Section 3, Hit the Road, engages students in designing, planning, and sharing their own Roadtrips.

Roadtrip Scholars 
On the Roadtrip Nation Exprience website, you can explore the Roadtrip Scholars’ profiles. Here are a few highlights to help you start thinking about how this curriculum might work in your classroom, school, or educational program. Click on the image to view the team’s site.

Who could use this? 
The Roadtrip Nation Experience is being used by a range of organizations and groups. There are schools that have adopted the curriculum as a requirement for all seniors. Summer programs, after-school programs, and career counseling centers have all used the Roadtrip Nation Experience to help students identify their passions and find others who have followed the path of inspiration.

How could you see this curriculum working with your students?

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