“leave the house” vs “leave the classroom”


This morning I watched Ben Saunders talk about his adventure skiing across the North Pole and his new endeavor of crossing the Antarctic on foot. His main message is to “leave the house” to find the juice of life. He explains that it becomes addictive to go on adventures and for him that means the adventures that can be life threatening. These teetering-on-the-edge-of-life adventures are unique to a small percentage of people on earth; how can this be extrapolated in education? I believe the same philosophy can be applied in education barring life threatening situations.

In education, leaving the classroom already occurs via field trips and to a lesser extent through guest speakers, special assemblies etc. However, lets consider a new combination where encouraging students to utilize digital experiences in conjunction with field trips (and other outside the classroom experiences) can lead to unique and authentic learning experiences.

digital experiences + fields trips (and the like) = leave the classroom = unique and authentic learning experiences

For example, a grade 4 class in Toronto can use Skype to connect to students in a classroom in China to discuss culture, language, way of life, and challenges faced by both communicaties. Next, the grade 4 class could then attend a local Chinese event in Toronto, take photos, Tweet and blog about their experience in order to share with their partnered class. This digital experience and exchange is a documented form of learning but we could add another layer where students construct something to demonstrate their learning (with or without digital tools). This experience targets all levels of the Blooms pyramid and would leave a lasting impression on the students. The hope is that it will give students a thirst for similar exchanges by “leaving the classroom” through both digital and real-life experiences.

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