This summer, 13 Upper School students undertook a European adventure that included a leadership conference with students from across the globe.
Hosted by EF Educational Tours and chaperoned by Mr. Ryan Kinser and Ms. Camela Giraud, this trip offered a personalized learning experience that engaged students before, during, and after the trip. This year’s theme of The Future of Technology gave students a rare glimpse into the inner workings of some international business powerhouses. The experience began with a travel tour designed to stimulate curiosity about the world, followed by a conference on design thinking that asked students to apply their skills and perspective in creating prototypes to solve problems.
The tour first took the group to Helsinki, Finland. While on tour in Finland, students participated in a workshop led by the Finnish gaming company that created Angry Birds. After an overnight ferry across the Scandinavian Sea, the group arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, where they spent an afternoon at the Tech Museum. A highlight of the visit was an amazing mental tug-of-war game that used brain waves to move a small ball into a goal. A trip to the Nobel Museum in the center of old Stockholm focused on inventors, humanitarians, and writers at the frontiers of humanity. The tour concluded in Berlin, Germany, where students were awed by stories of life behind the Berlin Wall and inspired by a city still emerging from the war.
Once in Berlin, the group participated in a three-day conference. Conference highlights included a riveting presentation by Randi Zuckerburg about the challenges facing women in tech and more generally in leadership along with an urging for young people to keep their dreams alive. Disney animator Glen Keane shared his passion for his work and discussed his career path that has blended art and technology. While he spoke, he simultaneously worked on stage to recreate Ariel, the lead character from The Little Mermaid, in 3-D, using a virtual drawing tool created through his partnership with Google. The conference concluded with student design teams presenting their final projects for a chance to have their work highlighted at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm. The winning project was an allergen-sensing bracelet called “Savor” which would provide early warnings to people with severe food allergies.
The ODA Upper School participates in EF Summits in the summers of even-numbered years. The next summit conference will be in Davos, Switzerland, and will focus on the theme of health and wellness. Tour locations for the 2020 Summit will be announced as the date gets closer. Additional travel opportunities for the 2018-19 school year include Puerto Rico for grades 3-5 and Thailand for grades 10-12. Watch the Banyan Weekly for details.