Roadtrip Nation: How To Use It To Teach

Roadtrip Nation
(Image credit: Roadtrip Nation)

Roadtrip Nation is a tool that can help students think about and explore what it is they want to do with their lives when it comes to a career. This is more than just a resource website, though.

In fact, this is probably most well-known as a TV show that has been on PBS for more than two decades. It has since evolved into much more, as well as being a literal road trip with a bus that brings these resources to students all over the U.S.

Since this is an ongoing documentary at its core, there are hours and hours of video material that can be revisited to help young people think about possible career options and provide CTE (career and technical education) resources. Crucially, this comes from professionals in the field, grounding it all in reality. But with courses, books, interview archives, and much more, this is a powerful CTE resource.

What is Roadtrip Nation?

Roadtrip Nation is a documentary series that speaks with professionals in varying work areas, nationwide, to help inform young people so they can make career choices. But it's now a lot more.

Roadtrip Nation

(Image credit: Roadtrip Nation)

Roadtrip Nation sits on a website that now collates all the various resources the show has spawned over the twenty-plus years it's been running on PBS. The goal of all this is to help students discover not only career options, but what they want from themselves and perhaps who they aspire to be.

The idea behind all this is to help young people determine what it is that they consider to be successful and to work toward that in their lives. The resources across all that this platform offers can help them to plan that path, so they can begin taking steps in the direction they want sooner rather than later.

If nothing else, all the content provides terrific and direct first-hand guidance from professionals that may encourage or put off kids from going down a path, that might otherwise be missed or be a waste of time.

How does Roadtrip Nation work?

Roadtrip Nation has a website that offers lots of resources from the documentary shows, a YouTube channel, an interview selection, and a live-event series, plus the real road trip itself. But the course option is also invaluable as it can offer a clearer path to young people in its five-hour layout.

Roadtrip Nation

(Image credit: Roadtrip Nation)

This gives students the space to stop and dedicate some time and resources to thinking about what it is they want in life. An all-too-rare resource in an often-driven system that can push well enough but without the child having been fully informed of where that can be to.

The documentary shows can be a great starting place, with lots of these right there on YouTube for free. For teachers the resources on the site can also be helpful as a way to integrate the best bits of the shows into class based teaching.

The course is something that can be used directly from the website if and when an investment (of time, not money) in further learning is selected.

What are the best Roadtrip Nation features?

Roadtrip Nation integrates well with the school LMS, allowing students and teachers to use the course part of the offering with the greatest of digital ease.

A book is available, called Roadmap, which allows students and teachers to look at career paths in depth, all from one easy-to-access resource point. 

A useful part of the course creates a real-world experience for students. It requires them to go out into the local community to interview a professional in a career that's related to their interests -- a fantastic way to get a taste of what they may want to do.

It's worth noting that the course is CASEL core standards-aligned and is also highly up to date with even the most-recent job categories. Plus, it works to help promote social-emotional learning as part of the progression.

Roadtrip Nation

(Image credit: Roadtrip Nation)

How much does Roadtrip Nation cost?

Roadtrip Nation offers all its many resources, including the course, for free. This means students and teachers can explore the website and the various videos without any charge.

If you want to actively take part in what is going on, there is a $35 fee for students. But if it's the course you want to take part in, that is totally free and open to all to try.

Roadtrip Nation best tips and tricks

Assign videos
Have students watch the YouTube videos, such as "Jobs for introverts," and have them report back on their thoughts to encourage class discussions.

Attend events
Look out for in-person and digital live events to attend as a class to learn the latest in career opportunities.

Follow-up in class
Have parents and other professionals join the class to answer questions and help students think about areas they may wish to pursue in their career path.

Luke Edwards is a freelance writer and editor with more than two decades of experience covering tech, science, and health. He writes for many publications covering health tech, software and apps, digital teaching tools, VPNs, TV, audio, smart home, antivirus, broadband, smartphones, cars and much more.