Description: Outside the US, environmental education is infused throughout a curriculum that transcends history, science, technology, and math. Many of these systems, Australia and even now in parts of China, for example, model themselves on Finland’s nature schools, where the environment takes a central focus beginning with students at very young ages (ages 3 and 4) partaking in nature studies. Nature studies offer students an opportunity to engage in their communities over sustained periods of time learning about their environment including what sustains it, what disrupts it, and humans roles in the environment. By un-disciplining environmental education, Finnish citizens have some of the most advanced content knowledge as it relates to climate change, and their policies, cultural practices, and aesthetics reflect that knowledge. Despite efforts, the ability to mimic these nature schools in the US has achieved little success.
What will you do in this course? To unpack the Finnish approach, the students in this pop-up course will experience some of the same techniques of multimodal storytelling that the instructors used to document the experience in Finland. This will immerse the students in the spaces of the Finnish Nature Schools. Next, students will create their own experiences that mimic nature schools in Pittsburgh through storytelling that will include a technique referred to as story mapping, which leverages GIS technologies to create stories with tabular data. Within these story maps are imbedded VR (virtual reality) experiences including 360-degree video and 360 degree-still environments where the user can interact with VR content. Other content will include imbedded documentary film and interviews, photo essays, and podcast and audio extracts. By way of this multimodal storytelling, we hope to not only communicate other ways of being in the world, but also demonstrate communicative methods and tools to transform our own approaches and understandings of the un-disciplining of environmental education. The goal of the course will be to provide a space for developing faculty and multi-major student projects at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Then, the outcome for this experience will be opportunities for students, faculty, and community members to engage in and produce with immersive technologies, participate in a globalized experience, and an understanding of Finland’s nature schools.
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Topics in Fiction: Readings in Contemporary European Novels
Wednesdays | 6 - 7:30 p.m. | 501 Cathedral of Learning