Saturday, July 26, 2014

Learning by Doing, part 2

Next major stop was two weeks spent on the beautiful (yes, beautiful) campus of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX.  Turns out it is the second largest campus in the United States, second only to the Air Force Academy due to its runways.  This is where I met with my cohort and professors to finish up summer coursework.  The highlight was a project-based learning course - again, learning by doing.  The best part was getting into the research and history of PBL as well as refining the practice side of it.  Starting with the launch activity, and continuing with driving questions and need to knows. we were all immersed into the world of PBL and learning from the literature, but also from one another.

Here is the link to the Buck Institute for Education's YouTube channel full of amazing resources to get started, dig deeper, or learn from practitioners.

I am reminded of another quote by Dewey that continues to guide me as an educator:

“The belief that all genuine education comes about through experience does not mean that all experiences are genuinely or equally educative.”  
Continuing my quest to seek "genuinelyeducative" learning experiences for my students!
Texas Tech University seal - main entrance, night view
Probably my favorite sculpture on campus - tower of controversial books throughout history
It is said that people are supposed to come here and carry on an intellectual debate about the books depicted in the sculpture.

Learning by Doing, part 1

It's been a busy summer full of learning by doing, to quote John Dewey.  I started off with presenting at a STEM club conference in Phoenix, AZ on computational thinking, creativity, and PBL integrating technology such as coding and 3D printing.  It still amazes me when I see where we are in education now and what my third and fourth graders are doing.  Truly creativity and collaboration in action and a reminder that:  “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.”  John Dewey
It is great that organizations within the state such as Helios Education Foundation working together with businesses and educators to bridge the STEM gap.  STEM clubs are a great way to directly impact the lives and futures of our students. 

From Phoenix, I spent living for two weeks at the Biosphere 2 (B2) in Oracle, AZ attending an APS-sponsored educator workshop where we lived, breathed, and did STEM.  We truly learned by doing.  Integrating field research techniques such as transects and measuring the transpiration of leaves, we conducted group research in the mangrove forests of the B2, ending with a poster presentation to administrators, University of Arizona faculty and other member of the community.  This was truly problem-based learning in action and a time to forge life-long colleagues and friends from districts throughout Arizona as well as to learn from leading experts and researchers in all STEM disciplines.
Research in the lab
Top Left:  Ocean biome in B2 (70,000 gallons of Pacific Ocean water); Top Right: Rainforest; Bottom Left: Savanna; Bottom Right:  Desert