Looking through the tidbits, websites and videos attached on the syllabus of R685 about extreme learning and adventure learning, I got greatly excited. I was sailing with 16-year-old AbbySunderland on the ocean, riding a horse with Albert Yu-Min Lin through Mongolian Prairie, exploring Arctic with a group of polar scientists, and searching shipwrecks and coral reefs on 2011 expedition of Nautilus. These resources bring me lively understanding of Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning.
What are Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning? Very different from traditional classroom, learning Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning happen in special settings, on mountains, under the sea, or inside deserts. There are no teachers and textbooks, even no learners. In Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning environment, learners are explorers. They start off from a mission, (e.g. Yu-Min Lin went to Mongolia in an effort to enable international protection of a sacred region), an interest (e.g. Members of the 2011 Nautilus expedition), or a strong will to challenge themselves (e.g. the sailing girl, Abby Sunderland). Through interacting with the nature, solving real problems and challenging themselves physically and mentally, they achieve knowledge and skills which traditional classrooms teaching may never offer.
What can be learned in Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning? Generally, explorers’ problem solving skill and surviving skill in extreme environments can be improved. Specifically, explorers learn knowledge and skills closely related to the learning settings where they are adventuring. For instance, Abby Sunderland developed sailing skills while she was on the ocean, meanwhile her knowledge about astronomy and geography, which she needed for her sailing each day, must have been improved.
Why choose Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning? In Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning settings, learners are highly involved in the learning context. We call this Situated Learning, which closes the gap between learners and learning contents, making learning engaging and easier. In addition, through exploring the nature, learners become more capable in dealing with real world issues and taking challenges.
How to start Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning? Not everyone has the opportunity and encourage starting a journey of Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning. However, with the help of new social networking technology, involving in Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning is becoming more possible. CoachSurfing.org is a social networking website working on creating Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning (more exactly, Situated Learning) opportunities.
How to bring Extreme Learning and Adventure Learning in classrooms? Faculties and technologists from University of Minnesota are currently working on incorporating geospatial technology, such as Goolge Earth, into K-12 geography classrooms to have students involve situated learning. They assign students real world problems, such as where to build a hospital in San Francisco based on authentic factors of seismic activity and population density, and encourage them apply geospatial technology to solve these problems. Click here to check more.