Dec 6, 2010

Discussions with Abdul Samad, Outdoor Educator from Pakistan

Over the last few months I've spent some time meeting with Abdul Samad, a passionate outdoor educator from Pakistan, who is on a study tour of outdoor education programs in Australia (see Endeavour Awards). Samad, who arrives after an inspiring personal journey, visited and participated in more outdoor education programs and met more key figures in outdoor education in Australian than anyone I've previously known of, out of passionate curiousity to see what how outdoor education is conducted in Australia. Perhaps the most telling of Samad's observations about outdoor education here in Australia is that he observed much focus on outdoor activities and relatively little emphasis on the educational process and facilitation. I shared with him Simon Priest's life cycle observations about national development of outdoor education - if seems Australia might well be on the downward slide. Interestingly, Samad has contributed not only to his own education and that of outdoor education in Pakistan more generally, but also to discussion and collaboration between outdoor education organisations and people in Australia. A big thank-you to Samad for not only visiting Australia, but immersing himself so proactively and thoughtfully in exploring outdoor education practices here in Australia and sharing about outdoor education in Pakistan.
 Abdul Samad at the track junction on the Mt Tennent range - he was more than up for a quick rainy Spring hike and chat one dusk!
Abdul Samad and James Neill (Tharwa, ACT)

Oct 10, 2010

Mt Tennent - Overnight family walk

We did our first overnight hike as a family (Oct 9-10, 2010), walking 5 kms the first day up the Mt Tennent trail (from the junction with Naas Road), camped near the 3-way track junction on the Mt Tennent ridge, then summitted the next morning, (5 kms return) and back down again (5 kms).

We made damper, watched the sunset, and slept in the open - there was a slight drizzle around 1am and mutterings about who decided to leave the tent behind, but in the end it lightened off and was fine.

Oct 6, 2010

Student-authored open textbooks as learning and assessment exercises - Getting underway

A proposal to conduct and evaluate a demonstration "student-authored open textbooks as learning and assessment exercise" has received a $5,000 grant through the University of Canberra Blended Learning Hothouse. There are 11 recipients of UC's Innovative Teaching and Learning Leader award in this round (Sep-Nov, 2010).

To learn more about the proposed project, see the Student-authored textbooks project homepage.

A plan for the project has been developed and the demonstration project is well underway on Wikiversity (as part of the third-year Motivation and Emotion undergraduate psychology unit).

Basically, the project aims to address three inter-related teaching and learning needs:

Three pedagogical elements underpin the theoretical basis for conducting the project:

As a fellow advocate of open education, the project piqued Leigh Blackall's interest and he popped into a tutorial and put together this neat 4 min. video clip about the open textbook getting underway: