Our main objective for this project is to educate the students leaders, teachers, on how to organize an authentic outdoor learning trip. Learning in the classroom is not as effective as learning outdoors and might not maximize the effect of learning. Thus we want to educate the people on how to organize these outdoor learning trips to benefit them.
A secondary broad objective of our group is to allow students to experience learning according to their different learning styles and help them learn better.
All in all we hope to help the students learn in a better environment and not stuck learning in the four walls of the classroom.
Our site's primary objectives are :
Explanation of why these objectives should be adopted
For an overseas learning journey, the core attributes would be to build teamwork and resilience among the cohort of students, and foster closer bonds between the batch-mates.
At the same time, experiential learning outside the confines of a classroom will enable each individual student to realise your leadership potential, as well as to develop his character. This multi-sensory approach to understand the socio-economic and cultural environment of another country is essential for optimisation of the overseas learning experience.
In addition, the delivery of your curriculum can be achieved in an inter-disciplinary manner. Pupils would have opportunities to observe the social, economic and environmental conditions in the country of visit and draw conclusions relating to the key understandings that you want them to take away. They will also be able to hone their skills of observation, making connections, decision-making, critical and creative thinking, and transfer their experiential learning to develop an argument and gather evidence to defend their points of view, as well as developing closer bonds with their batch mates through working and playing together.
Before going on the trip, it is essential to have a pre-trip bonding. You can play simple ice-breakers games before the trip. For example, a game you can play is “Whacko” , where one person is supposed to shout another person’s name in the group and the “catcher” will try to hit that person with a rolled up newspaper quickly. However, the person’s name whose name was shouted can shout another person’s name before he gets hit. The person who is supposed to hit is then suppose hit the guy whose name was being shouted. The whole objective of the games is to know the names of the members of the group and bond with the group members. Like that, the members will not be so awkward with each other during the trip.
There is a need for a parallel programme to run alongside the overseas learning journey, as there will definitely be students who will stay back in their home country as they cannot go for the overseas learning journey due to certain reasons. Reasons being students who had competitions in the period of time, students who had certain medical conditions, etc.
The parallel programme will not be able to match up to the overseas learning journey but it still has to be enriching and educational for students who will be staying back. In our case we had a good number of the cohort that had to stay back for competitions, around one quarter of the cohort. They attended a parallel programme during the time when the rest of the cohort was in Malaysia.
Differentiated Learning Outcomes in a Changing World
We live in a changing world. Change and the absence of change are important features of both scientific and non-scientific processes. Change can occur in simple, predictable ways. From our research, we have established four general patterns of change (adapted from our literature review: "A Guide To Key Science Concepts. College of William and Mary"). They include:
1. Steady changes: those that occur at a characteristic rate.
2. Cyclic changes: those that repeat in cycles.
3. Random changes: those that change irregularly, unpredictably, and in some way that is mathematically random
4. Chaotic change: change that appears in random and irregular on the surface, but is in fact predictable (in principle)
The first type of change is steady change. Change of this sort occurs at a predictable rate. For example, radioactive active decay follows a predictable exponential curve. Similarly, the distance traveled by a car traveling at 70 km per hour can be simply calculated for any time after the car leaves. Another example would be the steady growth of the balance in an untouched savings account.
The second type of change, cyclic change, is frequently found in nature. These include the phases of the moon, the tides and the sleep-wake cycle in animals.
The third type of change, random change, is also common in nature. Scientific examples would include the occurrence of spontaneous mutation in genes and the radioactive decay of individual atoms. Nobody can predict when a particular gene will undergo mutation and nobody can tell by looking at an atom when it will decay. Interestingly though, these processes, that are random at the level of the individual gene or atom have definable rates when one looks at all of the genes in a population of animals (the mutation rate) or all of the radioactive atoms in a sample (the half-life). A similar, nonscience example would be winning a lottery. Winning the lottery is a random event. Before hand, nobody can predict who will win it, yet the odds of winning are predictable. Again this is a process that is unpredictable at the individual level but totally predictable at the level of a population of individuals.
One of the most exciting developments in science in the 1980s was the understanding of chaotic change. Chaos occurs when a system obeys completely predictable behaviour (ie given the exact state of a system at one time, one can determine its exact state at a future time.), but our intrinsic lack of knowledge of its initial state causes its future behaviour to appear random. If you know the exact position and velocity of an asteroid, you could determine its exact position and velocity at any time in the future. However, a small uncertainty (such as a one millimeter uncertainty in its position), will eventually lead to a huge uncertainty in the future. The position of the asteroid in the future will not be determinable ie it will appear random.
Some systems, finally are characterized not by change but by a lack of change. These systems are said to be in equilibrium. In humans, for example, everything from our body temperature to the concentrations of different ions in our blood remains fairly constant. This reflects tight control exerted by the cells in our body over these systems.
CHANGE is essential for survival.
CHANGE leads to progress.
It is better to control CHANGE than be controlled by CHANGE.
Hence, at the end of the day, the END-PRODUCT of such an endeavour would entail pupils developing an understanding of the learning experience, incorporating different perspectives, showing originality of thought and purpose, as well as evidence of team-work & collaboration, and finally achieving creativity & clarity in the presentation & layout of their final SHOWCASE ARTIFACT.
Review of Existing Literature
As we all know, the classroom is the main environment for the students to learn and acquire new knowledge. However, excessive learning in the classroom may end up having problems instead. Results have shown that students that learn outside of the classroom will understand their work better and get better results for their tests, projects, etc.
There are altogether 3 learner types. The Auditory learner, Visual learner and finally the Kinesthetic learner.
These students learn best through by listening to lectures, participating in discussions, regurgitating and listening to other ideas. Auditory learners understand others through listening to the tonality, intonation , speed, etc. Written information will have little use to them unless it is heard. These students often benefit from reading aloud and recording speeches, lectures, etc.
These learners need to see the body language and facial expression of others to fully understand the lesson. They usually prefer sitting in front of the teacher to avoid visual obstructions (e.g. fellow students). They intepret best from visual displays like diagrams, text books with many illustrations, overhead transparencies, videos and hand-outs. During a lecture or classroom discussion, these learners would normally take down detailed information or videos to aid them in their learning.
Tactile/Kinesthetic learners learn best through writing and actively exploring their environment around them. Its is usually difficult for them to sit still for the whole lesson and may become a problem as they have a need for exploration.
WHY ORGANISE AN AUTHENTIC OUTDOOR LEARNING EXPERIENCE?
Why? As we know, these 3 learners have to experience by learning through their individual types of learning. Thus, to facilitate these 3 types of learners to be able to realize new information and remembers them, it is best to organize these outdoor learning experience. Learning everything in the classroom may have a negative impact on the students. By learning outdoors, it will incorporate what the different learners need best. For the visual learners, they would be able to see what they have to learn as the environment is within touch from them. For the auditory learners, the teacher would be able to explain what they have to learn and the guides or facilitators will give them detailed information they need for them to revise or learn. Lastly, for the kinesthetic learners, the would be able to move around the place freely and not just be confined to the classroom. This would definitely let them experience first-hand on what they need to learn. In conclusion, an outdoor learning experience would better benefit all the 3 learners and allow them to learn at their best and achieve their desired results.