Sunday, September 28, 2008

Does Learning Stop After You Leave the Schoolyard - Reflection # 4

Does learning stop when the bell rings and your students leave the four walls of your classroom?

We were on Second Beach in Middletown, RI this summer when we discovered a sand dollar. We thought this was an odd find on such a northern beach. The kids started to wonder if sand dollars where indigenous to this area. Wikipedia and google were not available. Luckily a teenager had her cell phone and I had the place to get the answer, even on the beach...ChaCha.

Mobile Answers. Just call. Just text. Just ask. We did. Within a few minutes, we received a text message explaining that they could be found in shallow coastal waters anywhere in the world, as far north as Alaska. This prompted more questions. What animal lived inside? In a few minutes a text came back explaining they were Echinoids, spiny skinned creatures. Their relations included the sea lily, the sea cucumber, the star fish and the sea urchin. Several more questions were asked and answered. I marveled that learning could take place anywhere. Yes, sitting on a beach in Rhode Island, sparked by a curious find of a sand dollar.

The cell phone is a handy tool. Imagine being on a field trip to pick apples and someone wonders how many types of apples there are in North America. I have the answer...I just asked ChaCha. Now you try. It's free (standard text message fees apply).

Text 242242
Call 1.800.2CHACHA

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