You’ve got to love what digital connection and social tools can do.
I recently reached out on LinkedIn to broaden my professional learning network and connected with Ciarra Greene at Portland University, Oregon. I asked Ciarra about global education and her reply set me thinking. I had an ‘aha’ moment. She gave me the missing dots to connect so many ideas rushing about in my head. Ciarra mentioned place-based learning and whilst I understood the concept I had not heard that name.
Place-based learning immerses students in local heritage, cultures, landscapes, opportunities and experiences, using these as a foundation for the study of other learning areas across the curriculum.
I immediately thought of My Place by Nadine Wheatley and the wonderful offerings for learners relating to PLACE. I’ve wandered from my original pathway!
Ciarra is connected to the Nez Perce tribe, who are an Indigenous people of the plateau, living in the Pacific northwest region of the United States.
Indigenous tribes in the USA are in the news right now, battling Trump’s directive to the Army to continue laying the Dakota Access pipeline across sacred sites with the threat of contaminating drinking water.
What if learners in the United States exchanged their understandings of the traditional cultures of indigenous tribes with learners in Australia and their understandings of the traditional cultures of our First People, the Aborigines? What if the identity and indeed existence of these indigenous tribes was being threatened? What if environmental issues are being exploited?
I think Ciarra and I are learning just in the same way we want our young learners to learn-through collaboration, communication and deep thinking. Through technology, our learning has shot past the four walls of the classroom and entered the biggest ‘classroom’ that is our world.