The focus of this paper is to provide a framework for educators to implement the AL@ approach to Adventure Learning (AL). The authors used a number of plot programs to devel;op the AL@ approach. AL is unique in adventure education because it is “grounded on theory, practice, and research with continuous development and refinement.” (Veletsianos & Kleanthous, 2009). AL has been refined over the years from a 7 principle framework originally designed by Doering (2007) as a result of the GoNorth! program to one that also includes 2 principles via the learning technology collaborative in 2010 to allow for greater ease of implementation by educators. AL@ blends the principles of AL with a place-based model of education that highlights the connection and relationship to place. AL@ also decreases the barriers, as seen by the authors, of AL by using inexpensive technology to implement the program.

There were three pilot programs incorporated into the study paper. All pilot projects engaged students in authentic science in the field, a component of AL that has previously been the domain of experts only. The following take aways were provided from each pilot project:

First Pilot: troubleshooting technology in the field was the primary focus.

Second Pilot: Increased guidance for collaboration between students, teachers and content experts.

Third Pilot: AL@ approach was used within weekly environmental education programs for students.

The third pilot program had grade 5 and 6 students involved in media gathering, analyzing, reflecting upon, and uploading on a daily basis. This allowed students to become experts of their own experiences and when shared within a larger narrative resulted in a greater sense of purpose. The result of the three pilot programs was a series of lesson take aways that are summarized below.

Curriculum Development

Communication between teachers and program administration at the ground level of idea generation is very important. It was noted that teachers engages with the same online environment in different ways. Some used iPads and had students view trail reports (to be discussed later) individually while others viewed the content as a group. The authors concluded that creating concrete time constraints were important and that linking curriculum to localized exploration was also a key part of the success of the programs.

Education Basecamp

The thought of the basecamp was both person based and philosophy based. A physical entity needed to interact with the expedition team for content delivery, collaboration and problem solving so program content could be delivered uninterrupted. The philosophy behind the basecamp was a way of organizing experiences happening both in the classroom and in the field so that interactions could be efficient and this played a critical role in the engagement of audiences.

Technology

The most challenging component of the technology aspect is to build in collaborative and interactive components to the site. For the pilot programs wordpress was used as it was low cost and robust. The importance of determining what content media service was supported by the local educational institute was stated in the paper. Other media tools used for the programs were also chosen for their low cost and ease of use.

Photos – Lightroom (adobe.com)

Video – Handbrake for compression (handbrake.fr)

Video Host – Vimeo (vimeo.com)

A key point that was made was the need for consent of release documents as a result of photography uploads.

Authentic Narratives

A template was created called the trail report that captured the day’s experiences from the participants perspective. This tool was a useful reflective tool, provided individualization, and acted as a procedural tool as well. It was also provided teachers with a formative assessment tool and reinforced a culture of inquiry with the students.

Next Steps

The key next step for the authors was to provide professional development for teachers to implement the AL@ program design. This Pro-D would help teachers

1. Develop web tools and media collection technology for the program

2. Provide hands on experiences with every aspect of the framework

3. Show linkages between the curriculum and the AL@ principles

Miller, B. G., Hougham, R. J., & Eitel, K. B. (2013). The practical enactment of Adventure Learning: Where will you AL@?. TechTrends, 57(4), 28-33.

Veletsianos, G., & Kleanthous, I. (2009). A review of adventure learning. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distributed Learning, 10(6), 84-105.

Reflections and Thoughts

I think this is a great practical design for implementing Adventure Learning principles. It allows for teachers to utilize outdoor spaces in the immediate area in order to provide students the necessary space to undertake inquiry based learning. The focus on making it inexpensive and easy for teachers to use is also an important aspect of the framework. When reading this paper, I envisioned creating a google community that could share the learning by students. A dedicated website could be created easily to store the initial videos and curriculum linkages that students would go to before entering their local wild spaces to undertake their particular place-based inquiry projects.

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