We wanted to update you on the implementation of our Experiential Learning theme. This year we will focus on Computer Science, Lego Robotics, and Coding. We recently purchased the Lego WeDo 2.0 Robotics program and the Little Bits STEAM program. These programs provide hands-on and standards-based activities that teach kids the 21st-century skills needed to be successful in college, career, and life. These standards-based activities are designed with collaboration in mind. Through these programs the students learn how to build and code robots and they learn the process of engineering. We will use the programs to teach the Next Generations Science Standards along with teaching students the science and engineering practices. Our students will tackle problems like an engineer; through computational thinking, developing models, testing and refining designs, and communicating with others. Through these memorable and exciting learning experiences, we will impact the lives of our students at Medeiros.
Experiential Learning is the process of learning through experience, and is more specifically defined as “learning through reflection on doing.” This first immerses learners in an experience and then encourages reflection about the experience to develop new skills, new attitudes, or new ways of thinking.
Currently, Medeiros grade levels already do experiential learning activities throughout the year. We would love to be able to expand on these activities and create new ones as grade levels and school wide. When we think back to our childhood years it is the experiences we remember the most.
We believe and research states that experiential learning is the future of learning. Here are some reason why:
- It accelerates learning. It uses critical thinking, problem solving, and decision making to deliver a training module.
- Provides a safe learning environment to simulate real life scenarios in which our students will face in the future. It is only natural that mistakes happen during the course of learning.
- It bridges the gap between theory and practice. The students get first hand experiences of practicing what has been taught. This plays a crucial role in retaining concepts and ideas.
- It produces demonstrable mindset changes. Example is from Henry Mintzberg that, “Leadership like swimming, cannot be learned by reading about it.”
- It increases engagement levels. This high focus on collaboration and learning from each other benefits students as it increases engagement. Students involved in the problem solving activity or event, the level of ownership of the outcome is higher.
- Experiential learning is personal and effective in nature, influencing both feelings and emotions as well as enhancing knowledge and skills. It goes beyond classroom learning and ensures that there is high level of retention.
- Student involved assessments allows students to define how their work will be judged. They choose what criteria will be used to assess their work, or help create a grading rubric.