With a title like ‘The Real Cutting Edge of Education Probably Isn’t What You Think It Is, I thought it was worth a click of the thumb and a scan of the eye. A scan turned into a read. A read turned into this blog! Education, technology, the natural world and the future all blended into one article. Right up my street!

Here are my key takeways from the article:

  1. Nature could be more ‘cutting edge’ than technology for education

Around the country and the world, a countertrend to Silicon Faith is building – based not on a rejection of educational technology, but on a growing hunger for a better balance between the virtual and the real.

Children & Nature Network

Is your school treating nature like a cutting edge educational technology?

2. Place-based education (or experience-based learning) is effective

The findings were stunning. Students in the schools achieved gains in social studies, science, language arts and math; improved their grade-point averages; and developed skills in problem-solving, critical thinking and decision-making (as a result of place-based education)

 Gerald Lieberman “Closing the Achievement Gap.” 2002. Based on 150 school

3. Nature is a cost effective way to raise test scores

As it turns out, greening schools may be one of the most cost-effective ways to raise student test scores

Based on 2 studies. One 6-year study and one 10-year study

Finland typically ranks first in PISA’s measure of “study effectiveness.” The reasons for these gains are complex, but in Finland, outdoor recess, often held in natural spaces, is considered nearly as crucial to academic success as literacy. 

Children & Nature Network

I am further investigating how this was achieved and how other schools can utilise it.

4. A ‘nature strategy’ is as much for teachers as pupils

It’s fantastic how this article refers to the ways in which the outdoors can help the welfare of teachers, not just pupils. They are often left out of such discussions and research and yet are crucial.

Walker’s observations mirrored the growing body of research that points to a relationship between more natural learning environments and reduced symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder, stress reduction, lower burnout rates for teachers, and increased civility.

From research in Finland where regular teacher & child 15 minute breaks are common practice

5. Connecting with nature is the future and part of the grander goal (hopefully)

In New Zealand, the government now prioritizes measures of mental health over economic growth.

Children & Nature Network

Surely in the age of biodiversity collapse, the climate emergency and nature-deficit disorder, we need new nature-based models for education and community – ones that help produce a gentler world for the children of all species.

Children & Nature Network

Final thoughts..

The article ties in nicely with our drive to help schools get more enduring benefits from the outdoor world.

I felt a little ignorant not having heard of place-based eduction. Having done some research I have not only reduced my ignorance but become excited about how we could apply it to our trips. What an opportunity for learning we have taking pupils to such an amazing place.

This article promoted THIS post as a celebration of the teachers who bring the pupils on our trips. They are they key to getting more enduring ‘cutting edge’ benefits from the outdoors.