Ever notice how well you remember something when learning it involved doing something?
There are reams of studies showing the impact, importance and efficacy of hands-on learning, and we apply it in our own lives all the time. “Let me just try it,” we say, after a friend or loved one patiently explains something to us.
We have a rich history of hands-on learning across disciplines and departments at Florida Tech, and it is laudably employed daily in our College of Science. Last year, faculty members Michael Grace, Rich Aronson and Mark Bush led a group of students to the Western Amazon region. They braved sickness and stings, blisters and bullet ants to learn about the amazing ecosystem there and document how it is affected by human actions such as logging.
This summer, Dr. Grace and his colleagues have other immersive education planned, both near and far. Already under way is a collaborative project with the Brevard Zoo and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection that has Dr. Grace and students surveying one of our unique residents – the diamondback terrapin, which was hunted to near extinction all along the Eastern Seaboard from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. And later this summer, they will head to one of the cradles of our biologic understanding, the Galapagos Islands, to study and research the amazing and unique creatures that live there.
Though hardly vacations, these summertime sojourns remind us that learning runs far deeper than extracting knowledge from a book or writing diagrams on a chalkboard. Those are key parts of the process, to be sure, but oh what we can learn when we venture outside of the classroom.
Have a great and active summer!