By Zach Swenson and Nick Edwards
A recent survey we conducted at Central High School showed that students aren’t terribly interested in using SD My Life. In our survey of 65 Central students 98% of them said they have used SD My Life, but only 8% said they had used it outside of the classroom. Only 9% of students responding thought they would use the website this year, while 34% said it was unlikely and 31% remained uncertain. Seniors can expect to use the site sometime this year, as the progress bar must read 100% before they can graduate.
SD My Life is a website used to help students with high school, post high, and career planning in South Dakota public schools. Its use is mandatory, and in some schools such as Central, it is required to graduate. One section of the site is the portfolio builder, an organizing feature that allows you to fill out what classes you are expecting to take and those already completed.
Another component of the site is the career matchmaker, a component many students enjoy as it surveys their likes and interests and suggests professions they might consider as a career. The tool is not without its troubles, as in our survey of Central’s students, 53% said they did not feel like the career matchmaker accurately guessed their desired career field. “I think that the match maker could be helpful to kids, but overall they should do what they love, not what the computer thinks,” explained Senior Caidon O’Neal.
While SD My Life is intended to enhance student’s educational experience and lead them to the right path to graduation, the survey showed that only 9% of sampled students felt SD My Life had bettered them as students. Central counselor Susan Aurand commented on the matter saying, “SD My Life was designed as a tool in the high school and career planning process. Students get out of it what they put in. Overall nothing beats a one on one conversation with your counselor about career and post high planning.”
With thousands of students logging onto SD My Life every year it’s clear that many are unsatisfied with the services provided by the site. Mrs. Aurand later went on to ask a question of her own: “What would kids like to see done about it?” It’s clear that some changes need to be made and speaking up with positive alternatives may be the best way to make them happen.
Photo credit: 365 – 26 by Tom Woodward on Flickr