Week 6 Extreme, Nontraditional, and Adventure Learning

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

February 13, 2012  Extreme, Nontraditional, and Adventure Learning

Adventure Learning

I am currently working on an evaluation project for R561 for a PBL school in Columbus, Indiana.  Now that I have learned about Adventure learning (AL) and Project-Based Learning (PBL), I realize that they have similarities.  They both use authentic experiences in the community.  An advantage to AL is that the online environment allows the students to work with experts all over the world.  Likewise, an advantage to PBL is the students can work directly with members of the community.  Both AL and PBL receive support from not only the teachers, but also experts in the field.

Another important aspect of AL and PBL is that they concentrate on 21st century skills.  Examples include critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, creativity and innovation, information literacy skills, flexibilities and adaptability skills, social skills, productivity and accountability skills, leadership and responsibility skills.

Research has proven that AL and PBL works.  Students are more successful when they apply knowledge to real-world problems, and when they take part in projects that require sustained engagement and collaboration.  Active and collaborative learning practices have a more significant impact on student performance than any other variable, including student background and prior achievement.  Students are most successful when they are taught how to learn as well as what to learn (Trilling, B., Fadel, C., & Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (2009). 21st century skills: Learning for life in our times. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).

I am interested in learning more about these disruptive innovations and at the same time, observe them in action.

Extreme Learning

I enjoyed reading about extreme learning because I made connections to what Peter Smith said on Wednesday during the webinar and also to the book, Disrupting Class written by Clayton Christenson, that I read last spring in Dr. Bonk’s R546 class.

In the article Learning from the Extremes, schools in developing countries are analyzed in order to give insight to the rest of the world.  The article mentions the Hole-in-the-Wall project.  In the past I watched the Ted Talk about this project which was given by Sugata Mitra http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRb7_ffl2D0.  I was amazed by what the children were capable of and willing to do on their own.

The next intriguing point in the article is about alternative forms of school.  Charter schools and alternative pedagogies such as Montessori and a liberal arts focus are suggested.   Last semester I attended a talk given by Dr. Tony Bennett, the state superintendent of public instruction for Indiana.  He supports charter schools or any school that will experiment and try new things in order to raise student achievement.  A person in the audience asked if it was a good idea that we “experiment” with our students without knowing the outcome.  He was quick to answer that anything has to be better than what we are doing now.  I tend to agree that we should try new approaches.  Offering students choices such as technology, arts, or science enriched curriculum is motivating and allows the students to contribute their strengths and interests.

Non-Traditional Learning

I found the article,  No Such Thing as Failure, Only Feedback: Designing Innovative Opportunities for E-assessment and Technology-mediated Feedback, useful for the project I am working on in R541.  My team is designing a web-based training module for how to implement UDL principles using the “flipped classroom” approach.  Thus, the research and tips on incorporating feedback in instruction through technology will be extremely beneficial.

I was eager to read the article,  The use of social networking sites for foreign language learning: An autoethnographic study of Livemocha, for two reasons:  1) I first heard about it in Dr. Bonk’s book, The World is Open, and 2) I have tried it before.  Since I have used it before (to learn German) I understood the experience the author had with the program.  I like the features that the program provides; however, the features seem disconnected.  I believe that the best way to learn a second language is immersion.  Livemocha attempts to do that (the free version) with the technology but also uses boring grammar exercises to teach the language.  A suggestion I would make is to provide vocabulary and simple sentences for the non-native speaker to study.  Next, arrange a chatroom session or even better a video session using a webcam with a native speaker.  Instruct them to “have a conversation” using the vocabulary provided.  This way the native speaker can offer immediate feedback and probably teach even more.  Also, if the individuals interacted using a webcam, then the native speaker could coach the non-native speaker and demonstrate proper pronunciation.  This aspect is what books and online tutorials fail to teach which is essential if you intend to actually speak the language.  Of course, the non-native speaker would need a good incentive to want to talk to the non-native speaker.  I imagine that the paid version of Livemocha offers something similar to what I have just suggested.  It needs to be free.

Adobe Premiere Elements Cool Trick #6:


German Words:

eine Arbeit  work

Urlaub  vacation

ein Buch book

Ich sehe dich.  I see you.

dein Buch your book

Wie heissen Sie?  What is your name?

Tchuss! Goodbye!


2 comments on “Week 6 Extreme, Nontraditional, and Adventure Learning

  1. Curt Bonk says:

    Glad this week excited you Kim. I was too. It is amazing what is now possible at the extremes. Yes. much overlap between AL and PBL…and EL too. So much! I wonder if you did a paper comparing the principles of AL and PBL (and perhaps EL), if it might be published.

    I wrote to Charles Leadbeater today–I thanked him for his article and asked him if he wanted a copy of my World is Open book. We will see what he says. The Hole in the Wall project is interesting indeed. Magnificent. Tony Bennett is not popular in the IU Sch of Ed. Well, I agree with him about change. We need to do something.

    Livemocha ideas…you are right. That is another paper for you. Or a strategic plan advice for them. You could be their consultant.

    I will keep dreaming up new jobs for you.

  2. Curt Bonk says:

    p.s. Love the pic. Send me that.

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