Implementing service-learning projects for high school students is so important on so many levels. As an experiential educator, I have found service-learning to be experiential by nature, as students get involved in real-world, community-based issues that are personally relevant, meaningful, or interesting to every student.
The learning experience is even more profound when it is self-directed; when students choose their own topics or issues that impact their local communities, examine community needs associated with the topic or issue, brainstorm ways that they themselves can serve to fill the need, and coordinate and execute those service experiences.
Experiential learning is a fantastic way to engage classroom and homeschool students in fun, personalized, and self-directed learning experiences. But how can you afford it? Is it possible to make hands-on learning where students are actively involved in every experience budget-friendly?
The answer is yes! In fact, I would argue that if you're working on a tight budget, experiential learning is the way to go. There are many strategies that I use to get cheap or free learning materials for experiential learning.
All kids are different. We know this. This is the foundation of experiential teaching. Experiential learning is also a process that doesn't always lead to black and white outcomes, wrong or right answers. Yet it is still common practice to evaluate all students as if they are the same.
How do we evaluate experiential learning then? How do we assess learning outcomes when those desired outcomes vary so widely among students? What are some ways to assess students or evaluate learning outcomes in a way that is personalized, isn't one size fits all, doesn't necessarily test for right or wrong answers, and measures growth and skill development in addition to content knowledge?
To provide innovative educational resources for educators, parents, and students, that go beyond lecture and worksheets.
Sara Segar, experiential life-science educator and advisor, curriculum writer, and mother of two.