2.3 Experiential Education and COVID-19


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Topics discussed in this episode include:We opened with our campuses shut down and rapidly moved to online teaching.Jim discussed teaching his courses which started out as hybrid back in January, giving him and the students an advantage in going fully online.The issue of how younger “digital natives” adapt was discussed and we concluded that people do like online for its convenience, but also love being together for the rich interpersonal interactions that supplements classroom learning – just like experiential education activities supplement academic learning.Adrienne then made some excellent points about her highly experiential work as a speech therapist. It is very hard, she relates, to keep young children engaged as a therapist when you are on a screen and not with them in the real world with your full presence.A recurring theme in our conversation was where see commonality of the impact of hands-on, real-world experiences to supplement our learning at all ages and circumstances from elementary to high school to college, particularly if there is a special need involved.  There is something about the presence of a therapist or a teacher that enhances the learning, even if the student can get there online and even if the health care provider enables telemedicine.That led to a further conversation of what students learn at and need from college that was lost in this unplanned sudden switch to online learning.  While we are not opposed to online learning, this may be a moment for us all to do some learning ourselves about how to deliver the best learning – how best to leverage experiential components from the teacher or the students themselves.We also discussed how this move has really changed the teaching faculty who have never taught online.We three agree we are not going back to the way it was when this is over, maybe it is the time to take some serious lessons now about how to make the future better. Maybe it is time to discover what is important to students who are finding themselves in college.Music Credits: C’est La Vie by Derek Clegg