This year more than ever, young people will be craving learning experiences that are relevant, engaging, inspiring, and empowering. These kinds of experiences are often found outside the classroom. Researchers have proved this “field trip effect” in regional and national studies showing that immersive experiences increase learning engagement and retention for students--particularly for those who are not reached as well by traditional methods.
These immersive events can be so-called peak experiences that shift a person’s thoughts and feelings and allow them to connect with an idea in a deep, emotional way. The learning science behind peak experiences is described in a White Paper by High Resolves. With field trips largely cancelled for the current school year, Museums are pivoting to offer such peak experiences online.
In every city, there are hundreds of arts and cultural institutions ready to provide experiences to students, but there are logistical barriers that get in the way: Teachers don’t know what is available, museums don’t know what teachers and students need, and we are all still learning how to make good learning available online.
There are efforts underway across the nation to both ramp up history and civic education (e.g. the Educating for American Democracy Project) and to engage museums as drivers of a new connection with history (Made By Us). We as a Collaborative work across these systems to support museums and historic sites in becoming incubators of civic engagement and sites of deep learning. We have developed templates for youth-led action projects in museums together with Getting Smart, and are creating a playbook for Museums to support real-world learning in support of the Educating for American Democracy framework.
Create opportunities to reflect on individual and collective identity through art and cultural resources
Encourage students to see things from different perspectives and connect with the experiences and emotions of others.
Provide students with a sense of belonging in the cultural institutions of their city and the chance to explore different narratives of what binds a community together
Practice the art of inquiry, by engaging in thinking routines, and learning close observation and discovery.
Explore different models for expressing human agency and historic examples of changemakers shaping the community.
Engage young people in local manifestations and representations of the system in which we live, and connect their learning to current events.