Current university students are the first generation that grew up surrounded by digital technology from an early age, affecting their interactive social environment, cultural identity, sense of place, behavioural patterns, classroom interaction and learning methods. This paper discusses recent lessons from a new-generation field school at the University of Calgary focused on low-technology multidisciplinary approaches to conservation and development. Students were taught intertwined modules in three simultaneous courses on biology, development studies, and environmental policy, while living and working as Amazon researchers on a research vessel in the Peruvian Amazon, without digital teaching aids or even electricity. Their learning experience was observed and recorded by surveys throughout the field school.
Low technology and multidisciplinary learning both challenge our trained patterns of academic thinking. Together, they provide a new learning experience for students in which everything is challenged, from self-reflexivity on technology-dependent lifestyles and social distraction to an epistemological re-thinking of academic compartmentalizations of knowledge. The findings suggest that, where used effectively, low-technology learning can contribute to a heightened sensitivity and deeper immersion in complex multidisciplinary issues, more focused face-to-face interaction and group dynamics in project-based activities. Beneficial experiential learning effects were also a stronger sense of place and cultural identification with local indigenous people.
|Keywords:||Low-technology, Technology Dependence, Multidisciplinary, Experiential, Field School, Learning Patterns|
Assistant Professor, Development Studies Program, Faculty of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
There are currently no reviews of this product.Write a Review