A Look Back at Explorers Camp
October 10, 2014 Mr. Thomas Steele-Maley connected learning, Innovation, Field Studies, mlearning
What is Explorers Camp?
The first student camp for GEMS North America, GEMS World Academy-Chicago’s (GWA-C) Explorer’s Camp stood as an example of GWA-C’s commitment to inquiry based and exploratory and mobile learning. In July of 2014, ten students and two teachers set out into the city to gain first-hand experiences among the myriad people and vast landscapes of Chicago. Combining mobile learning with academic inquiry, Explorer’s Camp students examined the connections between people, their built environment and the natural world. Along the way, the group engaged in thoughtful exploration; travels through one of the most unique cities in America; and reflects on what it means be a global citizen. Currently, Explorer’s Camp is scheduled again for multiple sessions in the Spring and Summer of 2015.
Explorer’s Camp Objectives
- To have fun while learning.
- To provide students the opportunity to learn through the process of inquiry and mobile learning.
- To give students the experience of studying a geographical area intensively.
- Through direct involvement, to provide students with the opportunity to develop and fine-tune observation and data collection skills, ranging from close observation and documentation to participant interviewing and mapping.
- Through the integration of mobile learning skill development and inquiry based learning, to provide students with a framework for understanding an essential element of their learning at GWA-C. This includes concepts ranging from responsible technology use to the dispositions of mobile learners.
- To place students in a vigorous environment that demands group cooperation, thereby providing students with the opportunity for growth in emotional maturity, self reliance and leadership.
In the Field
Students began the day at GEMS World Academy-Chicago,building a foundation in mobile and inquiry based learning. In addition, there were discussions on topics necessary for learning outside of school such as the inquiry process, decision-making, and communication skills and basic ethnographic concepts. During the larger portion of the day, the group embarked on a field study to test their newly acquired skills.
Where it all began….