The Electric Educator: Learning in Unexpected Ways

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Learning in Unexpected Ways

Sometimes learning occurs at unexpected times in unexpected ways. 

That's what happened to us this week around the dinner table.

I have a lovely wife and 5 kids. It's a bit crazy, but that's how we like it.

While we were eating dinner we were watching the birds at the bird feeder. I downloaded a cool bird identification app on my phone and we were figuring out the names of our flying visitors. The app also included songs and calls from each bird species which the kids thought was pretty cool.

Over Christmas we got an Amazon Echo which has turned into one of our favorite tech tools. I have been surprised how much we use and appreciate it (it's a great way for kids who can't yet type to look up information). The Echo has a great speaker with crystal clear quality, even at high volume.

All of a sudden I had an idea. Why not move the Echo to the porch, connect my phone via Blue Tooth and blast out bird calls to the entire neighborhood.

My kids were super excited and fascinated as we called robins, red-wing blackbirds, and cowbirds to our porch....and it worked! The birds were super confused as they perched on the feeder and looked around for the mysterious intruder invading their territory.

Learning and exploration can't always be scripted. 

This wasn't a lesson. There were no objectives. We were curious and decided to see what we could learn. Sometimes going off script yields the most memorable learning moments.

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