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A Framework for Embracing Complexity in the Service Learning Debate

A Framework for Embracing Complexity in the Service Learning Debate
Submitted by Seth Leighton, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Envoys

Recent years have seen the movement of global education from the periphery to the core; developing the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to do collaborative work across geographic and cultural boundaries is not a ‘nice-to-have’, but rather essential to success in the 21st century.

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Creativity: Experiential Education's Big 'ah ha' Moment

Creativity: Experiential Education’s Big “ah ha” Moment
Submitted by Daniel Cape, author, experiential educator, creativity consultant

Archimedes was a Greek mathematician who was assigned the challenge of determining the volume of gold in his king’s crown. One day, after working on the problem unsuccessfully for some time, he stopped thinking about it and joined his friends at a local bathhouse. As Archimedes lowered himself into the bath he observed the water level rise; and then it hit him. The volume of his king’s crown could be measured by the volume of water that is displaced when submerged. And so the story goes that Archimedes was seen excitedly running through the streets naked immediately after shouting, “Eureka!”

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3 Female Adventurers You Should Know About

3 Female Adventurers You Should Know About
Submitted by Dan Miller, Chief Learning Officer, AEE

Last week, I moderated a webinar entitled Out of Our Corsets and Into the Woods with Denise Mitten Ph.D.  The hour-long presentation focused on women adventurers from the 1800's through today and it will forever change the way I teach (and think about) about the history of outdoor education.  This article is a brief look at some of the women Dr. Mitten talked about in her webinar.  I encourage anyone who reads this post to study the webinar (it's free) and determine how you can incorporate these fine examples of humanity into your own teaching practice.

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Collaboration

Collaboration
Submitted by Nate Folan, Experiential Trainer & Facilitator | Author | Consultant

"At a certain point, I suppose you do have to let go and trust the people you are working with." 

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Student Engagement, Experiential Education, and the World of Tomorrow

Student Engagement, Experiential Education, and the World of Tomorrow
Submitted by Andrew H. Potter, Chief Academic Officer, Envision 

“I’ll Be Back”:  The Future is Coming for Us…

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5 Reasons to Give Peer Mentoring a Try

5 Reasons to Give Peer Mentoring a Try
By Dan Miller, Chief Learning Officer, AEE

My 4 year-old recently starting taking a martial arts class. She really likes the class, but sometimes she chooses to sit in the corner instead of participate in group activities. The adults have been working with her, talking to her, getting down on her level, offering encouragement, but nothing seemed to help…until they had another child try talking to her. Within seconds, she was out of the corner and participating with the rest of the group.

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My 8th Grade History Class Is Full of Spies!

My 8th Grade Class is Full of Spies!
Submitted by Christie Miga: Artist, 8th Grade Teacher

 

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What is ActivatEE?

What is ActivatEE?
By Dan Miller, Chief Learning Officer, AEE

Do you know about ActivatEE? It’s kind of like AEE’s version of TED Talks. Each year at our international conference, a small handful of individuals take the stage and share their story. Some stories are about quitting your job and following your passion in life; some stories are about finding the courage to embrace a world that doesn't always embrace us; there is one about fatherhood and at least one story is about a giant hotdog helping someone find their voice.  Through them all run the threads of community, resilience, and inspiration.

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2017 AEE International Conference

During our 2017 conference we sent out live updates to highlight each day's events.  Below is a compilation of those highlights:


 

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The Foremost Task of Education

The Foremost Task of Education
by Dan Miller, Chief Learning Officer, AEE

“I regard it as the foremost task of education to ensure the survival of these qualities: an enterprising curiosity, an indefatigable spirit, tenacity in pursuit, readiness for sensible self-denial, and above all, compassion.” – Kurt Hahn

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The Eloquence of Change

The Eloquence of Change
Submitted by Kim Neal Wasserburger, M.S.W, Experiential Educator and Consultant

I have experienced a dichotomy of roles and responsibilities as a career social worker as I enter the discussion of the benefits of “adventure/experiential education.” I have waded through the glossary of terms and definitions that must be examined and understood before conclusions can be drawn, and I have contributed to the research demonstrating that engaging participants in experience has a greater potential for significant impact than talking to them about the same things (Tucker, 2012). At times, the data resulting from my role as “administrator” do a disservice to the practitioner as well as the participant and financier when the research findings are broadly applied as an umbrella of effectiveness without regard to the type of specific activity, nature of the participants and the environment or the context (example: zip line, high ropes, challenge course, group dynamics, etc.)  in which the activity occurs. Careful consideration must be taken when associated benefits to the client/student/participant are backed by the blanket phrase “research says” without differentiating between these constructs, what outcome is being measured, precise language of facilitation and generalizations of the transference of those benefits to a future context.  It is not possible to assert beyond intention that a corporate client in a group dynamics session will be so impacted that he or she is going to return to work a healthier and a more productive team member/employee. Or, that a student from a school is going to participate in a similar day program, achieve wellness and a new perspective, return to school and be a better student and citizen. Such generalizations do not take into account that with any “experience” there are too many intervening variables to account for to make such statements.  Flawed research structure and methods, lack of follow-up studies, and differentiation in terms all contribute to the indifference about making definitive statements about program effectiveness, outcomes, and transference of the outcomes beyond the activity (McAvoy1996), (Gillis&Spellman,2008).  Consideration of “unintended” results must also be included and understood as they are part of the equation (Ringer&Gillis,1995).  In the same breath it is not possible to rule out that something greater and deeper might happen that defies the researchers’ understanding.

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What the Heck is Mentorship, Anyway?

Submitted by Glenn Middleton, M.S., of Western Carolina University.  Speak with Glenn about his research on mentorship during his poster presentation at the AEE International Conference.

What the heck is mentorship, anyway?

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Going High When Others Go Low

Calling Forth the Best in Each of Us to Create a World for All of Us: How Experiential Educators are “Going High When Others Go Low”
By: Marilyn Levin, MSW, author of Experiential Activities for a Better World
View a free preview of Marilyn's AEE Webinar on Courageous Compassion

Just this last week we had a fresh reminder that when confronted with a shared crisis like the “epic” Hurricane Harvey in my home state of Texas, we readily access the best of who we are - our courage, kindness, generosity and tenacity. Our best qualities bridge divides and help us rise above the legitimate complaints, injustices, and crises that are part of the human experience. They also enable us to break free of the norms of shame, blame, pettiness and polarization that perpetuate our suffering.

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The World is [Not] Yours

The World Is [Not] Yours
Submitted by Annie Peuquet with Felipe Correa and Seth Leighton of Envoys (www.envoys.com)

Picture Sarah, a high school student who has the opportunity and interest to travel abroad with her school. Sarah is studious, kind-hearted, and active in her school community. She decides to go to Kenya, where she explores the country, meets local children, and makes great friends. She comes home, posts all her photos on social media, writes down the highlights so she can use them on a college application essay later, and then largely settles back in to life as it had always been. 

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Harnessing the Power of Empathy in the Classroom & Implications for Experiential Educators

Harnessing the Power of Empathy in the Classroom & Implications for Experiential Educators
Submitted by Ritch Hochstetler, President & CEO of uLEAD, Inc.

“Changing the mindset of one teacher can change the social experience of that child’s entire world,” according to social psychologist Jason Okonofua of Stanford University.

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