City as a Living Classroom: Experiential Learning for Engaged Minds

Course overview

This immersive 5-day course is designed to empower educators with the knowledge and practical strategies to utilize the city as a dynamic and multifaceted resource for teaching and learning. Participants will explore the city as a living organism, where cultures, traditions, languages, and values coexist and interact, shaping the lives of its citizens.

The course will delve into the historical, cultural, and socio-political perspectives of the city, examining its structures and how they influence urban life. Participants will learn how to help students develop critical thinking, creativity, and reflective skills, fostering active citizenship and a sense of belonging within the city.

Emphasis will be placed on experiential learning and its contribution to lifelong learning. Participants will develop ways of exploring the city, engaging students in hands-on activities, and utilizing various tools for data collection and analysis. The course will cover a range of activities that can be implemented in neighborhoods, city centers, museums, monuments, and green areas, providing a comprehensive approach to integrating the city into the curriculum.

The course will also introduce participants to the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools for collecting data, sharing information, enhancing communication, developing map skills, and creating engaging activities. Participants will have the opportunity to practice using apps and digital tools in outdoor activities, further enriching the learning experience.

To enhance the learning experience and provide a cultural context, the course will incorporate guided visits to local museums, heritage sites, and cultural landmarks within Čakovec and Međimurje County. These visits will allow participants to explore the rich history and traditions of the region, drawing inspiration for integrating local elements into their teaching practices.

Tentative schedule:

Day 1: The city as a living classroom

  • Icebreakers and networking activities
  • Introduction to the course and participants
  • Overview of the course methodology and expectations
  • Exploring the city as a dynamic living organism
  • Discussing the city as a resource and a place of education
  • Group discussions: Sharing personal experiences and perspectives on using the city in teaching and learning

Day 2: Exploring the city’s neighborhoods and cultural heritage

  • Visit to local neighborhoods and cultural sites in Čakovec
  • Implementing activities and data collection in the city center
  • Hands-on exercises: Utilizing ICT tools for data collection and map skills

Day 3: Experiential learning and cultural exploration

  • Examining the importance of experiential learning and its contribution to lifelong learning
  • Developing ways of exploring the city to foster critical thinking, creativity, and active citizenship
  • Cultural visit (e.g. museum, heritage site) guided in English to explore local heritage and sustainability practices
  • Post-visit activities: Incorporating cultural elements and sustainable practices into city-based learning

Day 4: Exploring cultural diversity through mobile photography

  • ICT tools for sharing data, communication, and creative activities
  • Practicing apps and digital tools in outdoor activities
  • Hands-on activities: Designing city-based learning experiences using ICT tools

Day 5: Implementing city-based learning and course wrap-up

  • Approaches and tools for implementing city-based activities across the curriculum
  • Presentations: Participants share their city-based learning projects and strategies
  • Course evaluation and feedback
  • Certification ceremony

The classes typically run from 9 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon, with the afternoon and evening reserved for self-reflection and individual study. However, the course schedule may be adjusted to accommodate the preferences of the participants and the availability of instructors or external learning locations. Participants will receive the finalized schedule well in advance, allowing ample time for preparation and planning.

Learning outcomes:

The participants will be able to:

  • Analyze the city as a dynamic living organism, examining its historical, cultural, and socio-political structures and their impact on urban life.
  • Utilize the city as a resource and a place of education, fostering experiential learning and contributing to lifelong learning skills.
  • Develop ways of exploring the city that encourage critical thinking, creativity, and active citizenship among students.
  • Implement activities and tools for data collection, analysis, and sharing within the city’s neighborhoods, city centers, museums, monuments, and green areas.
  • Integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools, such as apps and digital platforms, for collecting data, enhancing communication, developing map skills, and creating engaging activities.
  • Design city-based learning experiences that incorporate local cultural elements, sustainable practices, and inclusive approaches.
  • Collaborate with fellow educators to share best practices, strategies, and resources for utilizing the city as a living classroom.
  • Incorporate cultural elements and inspiration from local heritage and sustainable practices observed during guided visits into their city-based learning initiatives.
  • Evaluate their own teaching practices and develop an action plan for continuous improvement in integrating city-based experiential learning across the curriculum.
  • Promote active citizenship, a sense of belonging, and an appreciation for the city’s rich cultural diversity through city-based learning experiences.

Course fee:

  • 400 euro per participant (covered entirely by the Erasmus grant)

Course fee includes:

  • At least 25 hours of course content;
  • Course materials;
  • Certificate of participation;
  • Europass, on request;
  • Learning / Mobility Agreement;
  • Visits to local institutions, if available;
  • Personalized support;
  • Free high-speed WIFI internet at the POU Čakovec premises;
  • Refreshments;
  • Administration costs;
  • Dissemination materials.
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