Thursday, March 3, 2016

#ExpeditionUnknown and education

Archaeologist and television personality Josh Gates hosts a weekly show on Travel Channel called Expedition Unknown.

His quest in each episode is to search for the truth to ancient legends, myths, and stories. Last night's episode is on the mythical dwelling of Shangri-La in Nepal. Other episodes have had Josh searching for Japan's Atlantis, Africa's Gold Hoard, the Viking Sunstone, Amelia Earhart, King Arthur, Blackbeard's Treasure, and other fascinating stories waiting to be discovered.

What struck me last night though was not the episode but rather the title of the series -- Expedition Unknown. The title carries with it the feeling of discovery, enlightenment, and exploration -- in essence, learning.

And then we have our education system where we pursue Expedition Known -- or, probably more accurately, Expedition What We Think Kids Should Know.

I wonder what learning would be like in virtual schools and classrooms across the country if we pursued a course more akin to Josh Gates' pursuit of Expedition Unknown?

What if we focused more on the journey, the discovery, the experience, the exploration? What if we focused less on testing knowledge retention and more on simply discovering.

After all, isn't learning inherent in an Expedition Unknown.

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