The Out-of-Door Academy is wrapping up its pilot year as part of an innovative educational community, The Hybrid Learning Consortium (HLC), and this week ODA hosted the annual HLC symposium at the Uihlein Campus.
The Out-of-Door Academy is wrapping up its pilot year as part of an innovative educational community, The Hybrid Learning Consortium (HLC), and this week ODA hosted the annual HLC symposium at the Uihlein Campus. ODA's Ryan Kinser, Upper School Instructional Technologist, led a hands-on session entitled "STEM Works: Take an Engineer's Approach Online," which offered a preview of "The Art of Innovation," an HLC course he will teach next year. Mr. Kinser described his approach in the classroom which encourages design-thinking and discussed how he would adapt that for the online learning experience. During the session, the group was lead through an exercise of solving a real-world problem to give the participants an idea of how this teaching method could be applied to the online learning arena.
One highlight for the attendees was the student-directed tours of the campus. Students took groups of one to three people around the campus, being sure to leave plenty of time for questions from the guests. "The campus tour is always a popular part of the symposium. It is a great way to see how the school actually works and what student life is like" commented Laura Siebers, M. Ed., HLC's Coordinator of Community Connections.
As members of the HLC, ODA students in grades 10-12 are eligible to take in-depth, online courses through a global learning community. These are not your everyday virtual classrooms—this is online learning of the caliber our students receive within the walls of ODA. HLC courses are designed and taught by independent school educators with a focus on student-centered instruction, and the students enrolled are from independent schools across the nation. All HLC courses are designed for self-guided components, as well as collaboration through various online platforms and support learning and interacting in real time.
This year, ODA students could choose from 13 HLC courses, including "Issues in Contemporary Healthcare" and "Essentials of Entrepreneurship." Students who enrolled felt that they had rich, student-centered learning experiences and built strong relationships within their classes.
Bella Fiorucci '20, took "Art and Practice of Screenwriting" and enjoyed the experience. "The way my classmates and I collaborated and communicated was quite different from the way we do in my regular classes," she said. "We used a variety of discussion threads, voice threads, and video chats in place of the face-to-face interaction I have at school. In addition, pretty much all of the homework was given at the beginning of the week, which meant that I could set my own schedule."
Out-of-Door was proud to host the HLC Symposium this week. "HLC is particular about each partner school we choose. We look for individuality; schools with their own character, goals and ideas about education. We have been made to feel so welcome on this campus. The students are so polite and I love the beautiful, outdoor ambiance" reflected HLC's Coordinator of Content and Innovation, Christopher Mullis, PhD. We hope to continue our involvement with innovative groups like HLC that focus on progressive educators working collaboratively to develop skills, refine ideas, and bring the best of 21st century learning to teaching.