My first discovery led me to the brief video below. Entitled "The Voice of the Active Learner," it defines the digital learner of today. I know that in just the year-and-a-half of iPad use at my school, I've seen how the trends are turning, and how heavy hitting mobile learning is becoming in the educational playing field. I often feel like I am a scrambling sponge who can't get enough or can't keep up with the rapid changing pace in education. This is coming from someone who is a fairly connected teacher. Knowing where teachers range on the tech-spectrum from compu-novices to fabulously fluent (with most somewhere in the middle), it causes me to wonder--and sometimes worry--about our nation of teachers. I think this video does a great job of showing educators how current they do need to be/become in order to keep pace with the active, digital learner.
Yet, watching this video, I was struck too by how inactive (physically) the "active learner" can become with so much screen time. It is here I often see myself reflected as I count up my own computer/tech-connected hours. It doesn't take much to get me sucked into the "plugged in" vortex. Yet it is through this that it reconfirms to me how important it is as educators to reconnect students to the natural world. The more "plugged in" we all become as a society, the more our Nature Deficit Disorder increases, the less connected we become with the outdoors, the more we become a nation of "Obesity in America," and the more we truly are in need of becoming "unplugged." This is yet another reason why (as a nation) we need to ramp up our environmental literacy.
It was here where I found my second "find" du jour. And why it made even more sense to combine these two "finds."
Bay Backpack ran a post yesterday on their blog about having a Recycling Relay Race. In reading the article, I found beauty in the way they married a physical, outdoor activity with a recycling-awareness activity. As I thought more about that, and then again about the above video of the connected learner, isn't physical activity equally engaging? Aren't we all more connected when our whole body is a part of it? Can't the outdoors entice us and capture our attention--in the same way any electronics can? Reminds me of a photo I've seen floating around Facebook and Pinterest:
In addition to Bay Backpack's Recycling Relay, check out the Bay Backpack's resource page for a slew of other lessons/activities to connect you to the outdoors.
While you're at it, here are some other resources to investigate in order to become an active steward for our environment. Don't be surprised if many of them lead your students to become active learners in the whole-body, outdoorsy kind of way.
- The Environmental Literacy Council
- The Green Education Foundation
- The Children and Nature Network
- Other resources highlighted in GTG under the tag "Outdoor Education,""Curriculum" or "Lesson Plans"
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