Title

It’s a Learning Equity Issue: Creating an Experiential Learning Ecosystem and Why it Matters

Location

Harborside Center

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This session is designed to explore in-depth the learning framework of an Experiential Learning Ecosystem designed for an at-promise student population.

Brief Program Description

This session is designed to explore in-depth the learning framework of an Experiential Learning Ecosystem. Research, centric to at-promise-students, will present the case for this mode of learning and will connect the dots between research specific to early-trauma, poverty, and cognition. Actual case studies of school-wide efforts will be examined and participants will have the opportunity to dissect culturally relevant learning-modules representing multiple grade sectors.

Summary

An Experiential Learning Ecosystem is comprised of multiple components operating together to provide a nurturing, mind-expanding educational experience.The roots of this framework extend to the domains of interdisciplinary and project-based learning. The experiential learning system is unique in it’s depth of study, integration of multiple core-content areas, and integration of both cognitive and emotional intelligences.

Research in the field of early trauma surface the correlation between trauma and cognition. Specifically, students who are in the midst of traumatic home-life situations experience difficulty in expression, acquiring early literacy skills, and linear recall and expression. Additionally, students experiencing poverty often have limiting and unequal access to print resources - both in and outside of school, inadequate learning technologies, and highly skilled and high quality educators as compared to their higher socioeconomic peers. All of these factors are documented as having a negative impact on academic achievement and in fact exacerbate the achievement gap. The methodology proposed by the experiential learning design seeks to level this imbalance through context-rich learning experiences.

Two exemplar school programs will be examined to surface primary strategies at each institution which operate in concert to provide an experiential learning ecosystem. Each program represents a distinct grade-level span, for example Pre-K to 8th grade and a high school model. The case studies are linked in that both serve a student population characterized by a deep level of poverty and students who experience events typified by early trauma.

Participants will engage with culturally relevant modules exemplifying this approach as a method to develop understanding of the organization and critical components comprising this design. Linkages will be discussed between exemplar units, case-study schools, and participants personal experience. Finally, participants will explore the impact of the learning design on academic achievement, motivation, and engagement.

Evidence

Evidence in support of this methodology includes studies linking project-based, experiential learning experiences to stronger outcomes in both literacy and math. Additionally, research specific to the effect of early-trauma and cognition support providing trauma sensitive learning environments that engage learners through multiple modalities and approaches. This proposal integrates research from both of the aforementioned fields of study.

Format

Poster Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Carolyn Gery is the Chief Officer of Support Services, Research and Development for GOAL Academy, a statewide alternative high school serving students through a blended learning model. She is responsible for social / emotional and academic support systems and expanding organizational capacity to facilitate and integrate learning systems. Prior to joining GOAL Academy, Dr. Gery served as the building principal for a K-8 charter school serving at-promise students where she developed a wrap-around, experiential learning program. A graduate of Pepperdine University where she earned a doctoral degree in Educational Technology she has over twenty-five years of experience in education as a teacher, technology coordinator, professional development director, and building principal. A continuous thread through her professional experience is serving at-promise students in areas where there is a high concentration of poverty.

Keyword Descriptors

experiential learning, social and emotional curriculum, project based learning, culturally relevant curriculum

Presentation Year

2016

Start Date

3-8-2016 4:00 PM

End Date

3-8-2016 5:30 PM

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Mar 8th, 4:00 PM Mar 8th, 5:30 PM

It’s a Learning Equity Issue: Creating an Experiential Learning Ecosystem and Why it Matters

Harborside Center

This session is designed to explore in-depth the learning framework of an Experiential Learning Ecosystem. Research, centric to at-promise-students, will present the case for this mode of learning and will connect the dots between research specific to early-trauma, poverty, and cognition. Actual case studies of school-wide efforts will be examined and participants will have the opportunity to dissect culturally relevant learning-modules representing multiple grade sectors.