Learning by Doing
There is a special kind of learning that occurs when children get to experience a topic rather than just study it. Their eyes light up, their minds engage, and their spirits soar. Using multiple senses make lasting impressions and pique curiosity. If you want to keep learning fresh, you need to change up how it is done from time to time. The age old concept of field trips meets the new virtual world to create a learning platform like never before.
The Field Trip that Comes to You
Think back to third grade. Whether it was five years or thirty-five years ago, you probably remember your annual field trip. It was the pinnacle of excitement for the year.
With rising costs, budget cuts, and greater demands on classroom time, fitting in a field trip has become more difficult over the years. The sheer price of transportation is often more than can be reasonably met by the school and individual students.
What if you are studying the far away lands of Africa or Australia from your Illinois classroom? Sure it would be great to experience these lands first hand, but what principal is going to approve that trip? Could you even imagine the fundraising it would require? How does that permission slip work?
Virtual field trips open doors to every teacher in every location! Now, students in Paris can visit the Smithsonian in an afternoon. A fourth grade class in Massachusetts can sail around the world and still make it to baseball practice and dinner. The experience comes right to your locations with the touch of a fingertip!
Come back next week as we explain how to conduct a Virtual Field Trip!
For your consideration – If you could take a field trip anywhere, where would you go? Why?
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Hovercraft and Education
I was recently on Twitter and came across videos of science classes that were racing hovercrafts as part of their lessons. It reminded me of my daughter’s third grade class. Students were divided into small groups and taught how to design a robot. They then got to build the robot and the student groups raced them the last week of school. This was genius! Not only did the children learn about robotics but they had to work as a team and build something.
After seeing the Twitter post, I went and looked up more information about students building hovercrafts. I came across a short article in Popular Mechanics. It is great that a well-known magazine would talk about something (like teaching technology students how to build hovercraft) and a few years later schools from all over are replicating it. Sometimes, we learn better by doing.
In some parts of world action is still how students learn the majority of their knowledge. In industrial countries that call to action in the classroom is a key to innovation. Rather than learn about coding software through a book or someone yelling to a student, students get on a computer and code. The difference between these two methods is the first is teacher-centered learning and the second is student-centered. This visual by Paul Curtis offers a better explanation.
Who knows if by participating in this learning activity, a future designer for Toyota, Ford or Mercedes is created? Who knows if participating in designing or building a hovercraft or robot is going to spark excitement that lasts a student’s lifetime? Who knows if by participating in this learning activity, a future designer for Toyota, Ford or Mercedes? Previous Global Learn Day presenter, Dr. Terrence R. Redding, shared his thoughts about this when talking about “The First Moment of Lasting Excitement”. You can learn more about that here!
This is more of what Global Learn Day celebrates! Education opens doors, it excites us and helps us learn who we are and where we belong. Education builds a bridge to a better future. Across the globe, we are a learning people. We share our previous experiences and hopefully, we learn from them. Education, and our thirst for knowledge, is what helps us to unite and become “One People, One Planet”.
What excites you about learning? What incites you to learn more?
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Assistive Technology – Building a Bridge
In the US and many industrialized countries, a parent has a child and begins to dream of his or her future. That might include what primary or secondary school the child will attend or if and where a child may obtain a higher education. The fear of parents with children born with special needs is that their children will not have the same opportunities as main stream kids. The questions begin with a diagnosis… Will my child need to be in a special school? Will there be a special classroom? Are there colleges that will accept and facilitate my child’s learning? This is a global challenge.
Assistive Technology has the ability to bridge the gap in Special Education and help students work towards an even brighter future than might previously have been imagined. It is even being used in higher education, in schools such as Barnard and the University of New Hampshire. At these universities, K-12 schools and other institutions of learning, TECHNOLOGY is helping students with all kinds of special needs to learn. They can use iPads, text to speech, even a device that will highlight words on the screen as they are spoken out loud. This article talks about Assistive Technology with a little more depth, even highlighting one state that is working hard to make it possible to students.
Global Learn Day is a celebration of learning. We believe that education is a basic human right and should be accessible by every person on the planet. It is through education that mankind builds a bridge to a better future, a better tomorrow. In the case of students with special needs, using Assistive Technology allows the world to open up. It recognizes that any person can learn with the right tools. That is the beauty of education, with the right tools, it is available to each of us. We salute those schools and educators that embrace Assistive Technology and aide all to learn as much as possible around the globe.
What tools help you to learn? Do you know of someone who is innovating education, creating new ways to help his or her students learn? Let us know!
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