The Association for Experiential Education


April 2015

Symposium on EE in the Digital Age – Engagement in the Digital Age

Today I got a chance to speak with Andrew Potter, CAO of Envision, one of the nation’s leading experiential education organizations.   What most excites him (and us) about his presentation “Engagement in the Digital Age” is the chance to assist educators in advocating for experiential learning in their classrooms by backing up their practices with research.  The good news for those of us that are passionate about advocating for student engagement is that the research clearly shows that if you can drive up student engagement, you drive up learning.    One particular study he mentioned “The Nature of Learning” published in 2010 by OECD, points out that research in neuroscience shows that the human brain is wired to interact.  Deep learning requires interaction with other human beings.   That being said, our Global economy, and the huge advantages we have made in technology over just the past 10 years have completely changed the way we use technology in the classroom.  The challenge is to use the technology as a resource for deeper learning, not as an end in itself.   How are we as educators harnessing the incredible technology at our fingertips to enhance student engagement?  Andrew has some good answers and some great insights on this front, and I look forward to hearing what he as to say, and to the discussion that his research will spark among us.

Author: Sandy Keldsen, the Center for Team Learning at Boston University Questrom School of Business

Symposium on EE in the Digital Age – Wander, Wonder, Wilderness: Using Interactive Technology to Engage with Nature in an Urban Environment

I had a great conversation this morning with visual artist Paul Turano about his latest project, “Wonder, Wander, Wilderness”, a film, website and mobile application installation that uses interactive technology to encourage people to engage with nature by exploring the urban green spaces of greater Boston.   Inspired by the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv, which explores the psychological effects of city dwellers being deprived of green spaces, Paul wanted to create something that would encourage people living in urban settings to get out and connect with nature.   His project includes the creation of a free mobile application (to be released this summer) that sends users by weekly prompts to explore specific urban green spaces.  The application includes directions to the outdoor site, and encourages users to put their mobile device away, interact with the environment, and then record the experience after the fact with pictures, sound recordings, and or text.    Upon hearing this aspect, I liked it to the application My Fitness Pal, which does much the same thing for exercise as his application does for nature.  People can share their experiences, and thus motivate others to do the same.  He liked the analogy, and he is looking forward to discussions with educators on the possible ways his mobile app could be used as a location based educational tool, allowing instructors to create learning modules for students to explore the ecology of a specific site.  If you attend his session at the Symposium, in addition to getting to see first hand what the mobile application can do, Paul will also show excerpts from the Film portion of his installation, which premiered at the ICA  (Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston) this past September.  The website portion of his project includes a community gallery of peoples experiences in urban greenspaces.  You can find out more about his project at his website

Author: Sandy Keldsen, the Center for Team Learning at Boston University Questrom School of Business


Today I had the pleasure of talking to Dr. Kerry Whittaker, Marine Science teacher at Coastal Studies for Girls, in Freeport Maine, a semester long science and leadership school for 10th grade girls from high schools all over the country. In her session at the Symposium entitled “Experiencing Place and Mapping Experience with ArcGIS tools”, she is most excited about showing us what the ArcGIS tool can do to facilitate place based education.  Students in Kerry’s class use ArcGIS software to create maps not just to analyze data, but to also tell a story using prose, video, photos, and scientific data that the students have gathered while exploring coastal Maine. In her session, she will give attendees the tools and workflow for creating their own story map in ArcGIS.  The software has a mobile application component that you will use to go out and record an aspect of Thompson Island.  You will be able to add to your map from your mobile phone while you are “in the field” on Thompson Island, adding photo, video and/or text to your map.   Then she will show how we can pull all the data together to create a group story map in ArcGIS. Sounds like fun.  I’m looking forward to it.

Author: Sandy Keldsen, the Center for Team Learning at Boston University Questrom School of Business

Symposium on Experiential Education in the Digital Age Workshop: It’s About Time: Visualizing the Past in a Hands-on History Classroom

I spent some time chatting with Andy Mink about his presentation for our AEE Technology Symposium entitled “ It’s About Time: Visualizing the Past in a Hands-on History Classroom”.   Andy is Executive Director of LEARN NC, at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.   One of the tools he will be showcasing during his presentation is ChronoZoom— an award-winning, open source, cross-platform, openly-authored timeline of history.

Andy helped develop ChronoZoom with folks at Microsoft Research, who charged him with the task of assembling a team of teachers to discover the best way to use ChronoZoom in the classroom.   Here are some of the things he and his team discovered:

ChronoZoom allows both students and educators to zoom in on timelines of history, create their own timelines, and see how events in history overlap so that students can not only see the events on a timeline, but also put those events in perspective to see how they relate to other events and other timelines in history.   He explained it a little like Google Earth—you can zoom out and look at a span of say a billion years or so, or you can zoom in and look at a specific day in history, much the same was as you can zoom in on Google Earth and look at your own house.   Thus allowing educators and students to compile huge amounts of data and organize them in an understandable format.  Educators discovered that is was a useful tool to show students not only how events overlap, but the cause and effect of those events.  Students can also create their own timelines in ChronoZoom to demonstrate their knowledge.

I look forward to meeting Andy and getting to see first hand what this tool can do in the classroom.  Below is a youtube link to a preview of the application if you want more info.

Author: Sandy Keldsen, the Center for Team Learning at Boston University Questrom School of Business

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