'Roadtrip Nation' on the Roof

Students participating in the PBS television series spend time in Half Moon Bay as part of school curriculum.

For the last two days, eight students from South San Francisco have been hanging out in Half Moon Bay on "Norm," the green RV from the PBS television series Roadtrip Nation — without hitting the sand or the surf.

Instead, the high school students interviewed leaders in education inside the RV during the held at the . The conference, which wraps up today, is focused on developing innovative approaches to K-20 education using a unique design process called action collaboration.

The interviews, which will join the hundreds more archived online at the Roadtrip Nation website, are used as a tool to inspire students to explore what they're passionate about, then link that to their skills to do a job they really love, according to Annie Mais, Education Director for Roadtrip Nation.

"A kid can be good at math and love basketball — so if you can't be Kobe Bryant, you can be the accountant for the Lakers," Mais said.

Since many teachers were using content from the television show in their classroom already, Mais said, a team from the show developed curriculum which uses the online archive as a teaching tool.

Students who are enrolled at AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) classes around the country — like those at South San Francisco High School — get on the bus to do interviews when "Norm" comes to education conferences in their local area.

"We found that it was more sustainable to have students interview leaders locally," said Mais.

The RV was parked on the roof of the hotel's adjacent parking structure. An outdoor lounging area nearby played selections from one of its seven previous seasons on a widescreen television.

This is the third year that South San Francisco students have conducted Roadtrip Nation interviews at the Big Ideas Fest conference in Half Moon Bay.

Come back soon to see a video interview with the students taken inside the RV.

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