I watched two videos on iTunes University. I found the videos in Edutopia under integrated studies and social and emotional learning.
The first video was The Edible Schoolyard. Students at a school in California spent their first period of the day in a garden outside. The students grow organic fruits and vegetables and then, in a kitchen set-up beside the garden, they cook what they grow and eat their crops. This is supposed to educate the students on much more than just how to work in a garden or cook. Firstly, the students learn how to communicate and work with others. The next lesson is not found immediately. Teachers who are specially trained to educate students in this environment guide the students and use every opportunity to make the garden an academic setting. While the students garden, they learn about everything from water cycles to the surface tension of dew drops. The teachers make time for reflection and thought about the obstacles they overcome daily in the garden. The project gives children a life experience to connect with academia.
The second video was A Night in The Global Village. Students are brought to the Heifer Ranch in Paradou, Arkansas. For one night the students live like they are citizens of a third world country. They are given limited resources to get through the night and must bargain with other villages of their peers around them. They do chores and cook like they are a poverty stricken village. The adult chaperones step back and let the students find their own authority in the situation. The students form alliances and can choose wether they want to help another village or not. They feed livestock and chop wood for fires. The students then have a reflection time. One student stated that even though they were hungry the night before, they knew they could go home soon and use lights and have food again. He reflected that if they were really poor, they couldn't have gone home the next day and it was hard to think about. Students leave with ideas for what they can do to improve the world they live in today.
After watching these videos, I can see how field trips or projects like this would help students see the "idea" of true education. The point of education is to make students excel in today's world. Without an idea of what the "World" really consists of, students couldn't truly understand that. Although I plan to teach in public education and may not have opportunities like this, I could use these videos as a catalyst in my classroom. A hands on experience is one of the best ways to teach a lesson. Videos of this type would be useful in showing students what opportunities are out there and what students their age are learning about all over the world. I realize that teaching Language Arts I may not be able to use these specific videos but iTunes U has a database that is nearing the status of "unlimited information tool".