- New York
What is DreamWakers? DreamWakers is a national nonprofit that connects classrooms to exceptional role-models working across a variety of industries in the public and private sectors via free video conferencing services. Each virtual session, called a “flashchat,” lasts ~45 minutes and highlights the real-world applicability of what students learn in school and inspire them to pursue their personal and professional passions. As illustrated in this 1-minute video, DreamWakers connects many traditional and public charter school networks with highly engaging volunteer speakers.
Who are these role models? More than 1/3 of DreamWakers’ volunteer speakers are first-generation college graduates and/or first or second-generation immigrants working in interesting careers and organizations such as: Amazon, Apple, CNN, the FDA, Google, the NFL, Nike, Slate, and the White House. Each speaker is custom-selected based on the background and location of students and the subject(s) taught by the hosting teacher. For example, a climate change expert could be selected to speak with an Environmental Science class, and a first-generation immigrant working at the New York Times could speak to a writing class with many students who are English-language learners.
How does DreamWakers benefit students? DreamWakers flashchats enable students to learn about professional etiquette, what it takes to succeed in college and the workforce, and see real-world examples of people who look like them and work in well-paying and meaningful careers. The Q&A part of flashchats allow students to respond to speakers’ previous remarks and ask questions about important topics such as perseverance, college, and careers.
What's the impact? Our goal is that each DreamWakers virtual conversation plants a seed for longer term learning and career exploration in our country’s next generation of thinkers and doers. We provide teachers with age and subject specific lesson plans and digital learning games aligned with national teaching standards to help extend the impact of each virtual discussion. We ensure that every video chat adds value by linking what students are learning in class to real world issues, by teaching students critical and comprehensive thinking skills, by enhancing public speaking and confidence,by exposing students to new careers and professional role models both beyond and within their immediate communities, and by increasing digital literacy skills. More information on our work can be found in our 2016 Annual Report, and here are three impact stats:
- 93% of DreamWakers’ classrooms were still talking about the video chat days after;
- 88% of DreamWakers' students had not previously met someone in the profession of their speaker;
- 84% of DreamWakers students had never met a classroom speaker from outside their city limits.