Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) has increasingly taken on importance around the world, in part due to the growing awareness of environmental concerns such as climate change, and in part due to a challenge set forth by the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005-2014) to integrate the principles, values, and practices of sustainable development into all aspects of education and learning. There is, as a result, a growing body of ESD literature (e.g., see Blum, Nazir, Breiting, Goh, & Pedretti, 2013; Chalkey, 2006; De Hann, Bormann, & Leicht, 2010; Eilam & Trop, 2011; Green & Somerville, 2014; Karatzoglou, 2013; Kemmis & Mutton, 2012; Reunamo & Pipere, 2011; Rieckmann, 2013; Walshe, 2008; Weaver, 2015), and many places in the developed world have begun to establish policies addressing ESD. Adventure has been incorporated into sustainability education in a variety of ways throughout history: through literature, outdoor and physical education, field-based exploration and research, and most recently, technology, which has, for example, allowed learners to journey virtually along with explorers and scientists on expeditions to the far-reaches of the world. Technology has also enhanced and expanded the types of adventures we can engage in today, such as through advances in equipment and tools that allow us to explore regions of the planet that were previously inaccessible, and to participate in events previously unimagined, via the personal computer, the Internet, and mobile devices. The three related studies that comprise this dissertation focus on the use of adventure learning as a driving force in inquiry-based sustainability education. These studies examine three different online adventure learning projects. Paper 1 shares research conducted on the role of adventure in the GoNorth! adventure learning series, and advances suggestions for how adventure might be employed in distance, online, and mobile learning in ways that promote experiential learning and sustainability education. Paper 2 examines to what extent an informal online learning environment such as WeExplore might provide a technology-fueled classroom tool for teachers that fosters inquiry and creativity while allowing learners to design authentic transdisciplinary experiences grounded in contemporary issues. Paper 3 shares data and narratives from six Earthducation field expeditions and examines how education might influence sustainability in differing contexts and geographical locations. Findings from the studies indicate adventure learning is a promising model that educators and designers can draw from in both formal and informal learning settings as a means to fuse inquiry, sustainability education, and technology in a pedagogically meaningful way that engages learners and teachers alike. The studies advance our understanding of how we might better design technology-enhanced learning environments that foster engagement and creativity while encouraging learner curiosity and wonder and cultivating inquiry and collaboration.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2016. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Aaron Doering. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 149 pages.
Adventure, Inquiry, and Technology as Driving Forces in Sustainability Education.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.