Educational Life and Science Move Outdoors

You see more and more of this lately. Students taking expeditions into what is affectionately known as the "great classroom of life". Maybe it's to Six Flags, maybe it's a year in Uganda. The creation of Science and Experience has moved outside. Or, it's preparing inventions that previously belonged within the realm of more established institutions.

The "fix" on learning is that's it's no longer fixed. There are some of us, present company included, that remember the little yellow bus trip from Baltimore to Washington as the culmination and highlight of the school year. And for the brave, there was a big-time trip to New York City. Ha!

Nowadays, your average teen has spent a semester in Europe or Africa and will be taking a kayak down the Colorado River testing the plant life in river rapids. This morning I tweeted yet another activity involving Hopkins students and a Baltimore mission. Moral of story. In our changing times, there are students and there are entrepreneurial students. Not commercial entrepreneurs, mind you. (Though there's nothing wrong with that) I'm speaking of a mindset that's creating a methodology or an invention that enhances into the social, environmental or public landscape. Usually this mindset crafts an alternative system, or a sounding rocket, that fits into a particular niche. JHU Students re-doing medical records for a city mission would be the perfect example.

In each example, I think the one question that seemed to be asked, the one question that unified each story was: "why can't we do that?" Perhaps this is the result of living in close proximity to the grand wunderkind that is "globalization". ("Hey, we CAN go to Uganda and improve someone's life!")  Or, maybe it's simply that growing up in a world where the possibility and actualization of big ideas is closer than we ever imagined.    

 

Alonzo LaMont

alonzo@jhmi.edu

 


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