How are you igniting #curiosity and wonder in your own backyard?

new perspective creates wonder and inspires us to become explorers in our own backyards.

This quote comes from Louie Schwartzberg’s TED talk “Hidden miracles of the natural world.”

And this one…

What is the intersection between technology, art and science? Curiosity and wonder, because it drives us to explore….

Schwartzberg’s films are beautiful. And they originate from curiosity, wonder, and… field work. Getting out and exploring.

Last week, speaking to a group of educational leaders, I said that the school campus and surrounding area may be the single most underutilized learning environment in the world. What if we explored our own campuses more – in the same spirit as Schwartzberg explores and discovers? We might just reignite the curiosity and wonder of millions of learners.

Go. Explore. Observe. Discover. Question.

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“Restoration of the ability to perceive beauty is inspiring” – Charles Limb

Charles Limb performs cochlear implantation, a surgery that treats hearing loss and can restore the ability to hear speech. But as a musician too, Limb thinks about what the implants lack: They don’t let you fully experience music yet. (There’s a hair-raising example.) At TEDMED, Limb reviews the state of the art and the way forward. (“About this talk” description at TED.com, http://www.ted.com/talks/charles_limb_building_the_musical_muscle.html)

At this point, I have watched Charles Limb’s talk multiple times. I am intrigued by it. For me, the talk elicits all kinds of excited thinking about possible projects of integrated studies. In my mind’s eye, I can see a team of student-learners, guided by a pair of co-teacher-learners, studying the intersection of music, physics, biology, robotic medicine, and beauty. Who knows, perhaps such a course would plant the seed that would grow into the physician-researcher who advances cochlear implants to the next level.

But, as regular readers here will surely anticipate, I am also touched by a more symbolic message inherent in Limb’s talk. I wonder: Are we working with students in our schools who have grown to be partially “deaf or blind” to the beauty around them? As young children – particularly around ages two to seven – people seem defined by their sense of wonder, exploration, and sense of searching and discovery. Often I worry that we dull those senses when we insist that children sit so long inside of school houses and study disjointed, disconnected facts.

How can we educators help to enhance the senses of our student learners? For that matter, how can we help to enhance the senses of all of the learners in a school house? How can we restore the ability to perceive beauty and inspire? Certainly, I think we do this for some students, but do we do this for all of the students in our care? Does school allow students to fully experience the wonder and beauty of their world? How can we ensure better that it does so? What would that school look like, smell like, taste like, and sound like? What an adventure!