Monday, April 29, 2013

ITIP of the Week: Creating a Brain-Friendly Classroom with Field Trips

Hi all!

Sorry I have been away. I am juggling a few books right now and I got away from Marcia Tate's Worksheets Don't Grow Dendrites. I'm back at it, though!

Today's topic: Field Trips

I remember many of the field trips from elementary school. I remember the trip to the Nebraska State Capitol, the Governor's Mansion, the Kennard House, the one-room school house on the fairgrounds, and McDonalds. Yep...we went to McDonalds. That teacher was genius!

These trips are very clear memories. According to Marcia Tate, "the brain has but one purpose--survival in the real world," and real-world experiences stick with us for a long time. So, any time we can get our kids into the real-world and out of the theoretical-based classroom, the more life-long connections will be established. Pair that fact with Daniel Pink's "Motivation 3.0" idea that today's learner wants autonomy, self-determinacy, and purpose, and you will find real-world experiences are a must for the 21st Century student.

Here are just a few reasons why this works:

  • Leaving the normal daily classroom will assist better recall.
  • Field trips help kids to develop better observation and inquiry skills.
  • Authentic and experiential learning build greater connections.
  • The 21st Century learner needs to know how the content relates to their life. Creating life-experiences centered around the content will help build a sense of purpose.

I realize that budgets are tight all around, but studies show that virtual field trips can be just as effective. Here are a few to check out:

  • Google Art Project: Here you can visit 230 of the world's galleries using Google Street View technology. It is pretty awesome! 

  • World Wonders Project: This, too, is by Google and takes you to the World's natural and architectural wonders using Street View technology.

Of course, with the advent of Distance Learning, Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts, kids can be taken to practically any location we desire. Get them out of the classroom!

Have a happy day!

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