Australian Science & Mathematics School

No uniforms, open plan learning and a wonderful happy school environment! I only wish I could have gone to the Australian Science & Mathematics School. Specifically designed to cater for students with an interest in Maths and Science, the non-selective government school based at Flinders University in Adelaide is a remarkable example of the future facing experiential education at its best.

This impressive campus and program is for years 10-12 and all education starts with a major social, health, technical, or world-wide problem. The challenge is to find solutions to these problems through the effective practical application of Science and Maths.

With self-directed learning a key component of the school, this was a highlight of my year being able to visit and see such an effective teaching and learning environment in action.

For more information about the Australian Science & Mathematics School:

https://www.asms.sa.edu.au

http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/future-proof-promo/7562184

V&A Museum London

What happens when you collect a lot of random stuff? Well, if you only have a small house, you get called a hoarder. However, if you have massive amounts of money and can build an enormous building to put all your stuff in, then you’re called a philanthropist. Queen Victoria and her husband Albert, happened to be the latter. The V&A has an astounding collection of rare and unique artefacts from around the world.

In this episode, we talk with Adrian Deakes, Program Manager For Theatre & Performance for schools at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. We explore how the V&A leverages its collection and industry partnerships to bring some unique and valuable experiential learning to life for theatre students, including Shakespeare In A Suitcase, which is a super cool and challenging experience!

For more information about the V&A:

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/videos/s/video-shakespeare-in-a-suitcase/

https://www.vam.ac.uk

https://www.vam.ac.uk/info/learn

Antarctic Adventures

What do you know about penguins? Well they get mad if you steal their fish… Thankfully, I wasn’t the one given the opportunity to go to Antarctica and lead a research base station.

In this episode, we talk with Noel Mifsud, Principal of Christian Brothers College in Adelaide, whose extra-ordinary career crosses between education and industry as opportunities have presented themselves. We look at how his experiences outside of education have helped him in his teaching and leadership throughout all his work.

We explore some of the interesting approaches he’s using in his own school to help prepare students for an unknown and uncertain future.

For more information about Noel & Christian Bros College:

http://www.cbc.sa.edu.au

http://www.antarctica.gov.au

http://www.antarctica.gov.au/living-and-working/stations/casey

Clunes – Escape To The Country

How do you like the sound of going away for eight weeks and living in a house with seven other people you might have never met before? No it’s not big brother. It’s Wesley College’s residential Yr 9 program called Clunes.

In this episode, we talk with Tim Nolan, Head of Student Welfare at Clunes. We look at how different this sort of program is and how their experiential learning approach covers their daily social lives, their academic work and their community involvement.

We explore some of the aspects of the co-ed program and see how this sort of challenging and supportive environment is helping students prepare for an uncertain future.

For more information about Clunes:

http://www.wesleycollege.net/Wesley-Life/Clunes/The-Clunes-Journey.aspx

http://visitclunes.com.au

AFP & International Training

How would you react when thrown in the deep end? Foreign country, different culture, different language and all you have to do is build an effective police force from scratch.

In this episode we talk with Rebecca Cameron, former Australian Federal Police officer who shares her experiences on building police force capacity in war ravaged East Timor. From basic police work and training in Australia, to a far more politically and culturally complex overseas policing with the United Nations International Police Force, this is a fascinating insight into how we can learn from and with other and build something from scratch.

We dive deeply into practical skills development in an occupation that relies on situational awareness, adaptability and problem solving skills.

For more information on the AFP and UNAMET:

https://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/our-work-overseas

https://unmit.unmissions.org

https://foreignminister.gov.au/releases/1999/fa067_99.html

https://www.facebook.com/TheFigTreeForest/

 

Bundanon Trust

Where’s your creative space? Is it in a place filled with movement and noise, a quite retreat away from everything, or do you have random moments of creativity whilst out surfing?

In this episode, we talk with Mary Preece, Education Manager for Bundanon Trust, Arthur Boyd’s former property nestled on the banks of the Shoalhaven River. The Trust was set up after the famous artist donated the land and much of his private collection to the Australian people. We talk about various experiential education programs based around art and the environment which the Trust runs as part of its great educational work.

We also explore how spaces and environment impact on a student’s focus, feeling and expression. We recorded this podcast at a number  of locations around the property, which was a highlight for me, seeing inside the artist’s studio, just as he left it.

For more information on Bundanon Trust:

https://bundanon.com.au

https://bundanon.com.au/collection/

https://shoalhaven.nsw.gov.au/Discover-Shoalhaven/Visitor-information

GovHack & Problem Solving

What better way to spend the weekend than to take some government data and hack it! No it’s not quite wikileaks! No breaking into filing cabinets we find at second hand furniture stores in Canberra! It’s a competition to see who can creatively use the masses of government datasets available to the public.

In this episode, we talk with Matt Purcell, Head of Digital Innovation at Canberra Grammar School and former ACT Director of GovHack in Canberra. We explore some of the ways GovHack came about, what it’s all about and how this sort of experience translates back into the digital classroom. We also explore the process of problem solving for students in the context of learning to code and creating effective partnerships between education and business.

It’s a fun and interesting look at some great challenges available for students, which connects them with government departments and wider tech industry players.

For more information on GovHack and stuff we talk about:

https://govhack.org

https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/hololens

https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/store/p/holoelements/9n9g3vlcbjj3

https://cgs.act.edu.au

The Australian War Memorial

There’s nothing more important than for us to understand and learn from the lessons of the past. The Australian War Memorial, built to commemorate the Great War and opened in 1941 in the midst of the Second World War, remains one of the most important and most visited sites in Australia.

In this episode, we talk with Dr Brendan Nelson, Director of The Australian War Memorial in Canberra. It’s a fascinating and moving insight into the great work that the War Memorial is doing to provide the next generation with a real understanding of the experience of war and honour those who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice to enable us to live in this great country, as we do today.

We explore some of the innovations which have brought exhibits and the educational experience of the War Memorial to life as well as hear an intimate story of love and loss which emerged from letters given to the War Memorial for preservation.

For more information on the Australian War Memorial:

https://www.awm.gov.au

Tihoi Venture School

What’s a great way to get boys to mature and take responsibility for themselves and the direction of their lives? Send them away to live in remote rustic timber mill cottages with seven other boys, where they have to cook for themselves, keep their cottages in good order, study and take on all manner of outdoor challenges, including skinning and cooking their own rabbits!

In this episode, we talk with Cyn Smith, Director of Tihoi Venture School in NZ. Situated near Taupo on the North Island of New Zealand, Tihoi Venture School was started in 1979, using buildings which were previously the workers’ cottages for the timber mill.

This is very much a ‘back to basics’ program which provides amazing opportunities for the students to grow within themselves, gain independence and build a set of skills to prepare them for the uncertainties of life.

 

For more information on Tihoi and their wonderful program:

https://www.stpauls.school.nz/section/tihoi-venture-school

http://www.knowtihoi.school.nz

 

A Podcast is Launched

Introducing the new Experiential Education Podcast, hosted by David Gregory, the podcast delves into all different sorts of experiential learning. From art, to science, to outdoor ed, to policing, to theatre and performance and everything in between, the depth and breadth of the podcast and its guests, highlights how important it is for students today to learn to be adaptable problem solvers.

 

For more info, guest suggestions and other feedback visit:

https://xperiential.education/

For cool blog articles about experiential education, outdoor education and risk management visit:

http://www.challengeexperiencegrowth.com/

For professional and business info visit:

http://www.davidgregory.com.au

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