Almost 20 years ago, education author and consultant Richard Rowland trekked around the coastline of Great Britain, creating a trove of free cross-curricular resources for students at 50 primary schools as he went. This year, he is recreating the journey with a new team and with access to his journey and free resources expanded to any school that wishes to sign up. This time around, everything is centered around a character called Owlbut the owl. Here, in the first of a monthly series of blogs, Richard explains the concept.
Experiential learning has been around since the hunter-gatherer days, when children would follow their parents on hunts or learn to cook around the fire. In those days, the learning-by-doing approach enabled learners to make use of the expertise of someone older, while gaining first-hand experience of skills they would need and problems they might encounter when doing the same task alone.
You might think that this method of learning would have been made obsolete by all the intricate technology of our modern world. But experiential learning is just as important as it has ever been; all that technology is allowing it to continue in new and inspirational ways.
Our new project is committed to helping children learn through experience. We will take children on a journey of discovery and adventure. That journey will be secondhand, but we hope that pupils will still feel a part of it and be motivated to find out more about the places we visit as they wait each week for updates.
The information we share will not be encyclopaedic. Rather than providing all the answers, we want to create an infectious desire to learn. Children will gain knowledge from our journey, but will also develop the ability to ask the right questions, building on their natural inquisitiveness. We want our followers to find out answers for themselves and begin to figure out their own world. Most of all, we want to show that learning can – and should be – fun.
Each week, we will upload classroom material for teachers. Our resources have been designed with the new curriculum in mind, but they are not prescriptive and can be used however teachers see fit. The whole website is free to access and we look forward to having you and your pupils along for the ride.