Where Learning Mirrors Life: Teaching + Learning at EXPLO

November 1, 2017

At EXPLO, we believe learning mirrors life — full of questions, tensions, and worthwhile digressions in an ever-changing world. We know that whimsy and wonder have a place alongside pragmatic investigation. We celebrate discovery through doing, and empathy through authentic connection. We know immersing ourselves in the earnest exploration of the world of people and ideas reveals the joy of learning and with it the joy of living.

How We Do It: The Five Cs of Teaching + Learning at EXPLO

Our Department of Teaching + Learning works year-round to develop and deliver engaging, hands-on courses that are developmentally age-appropriate and push kids to explore outside of their comfort zone. All of the work we do is guided by The Five Cs:

  • Creativity
  • Critical Thinking
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Collaboration
  • Choice

While each of these components is critical to the curriculum process, it's the fifth C — choice — that is the key component to how we run our courses.

This doesn’t mean that our students get to choose everything they do. Making choices isn’t about getting what you want all of the time. Instead, it’s about agency — the ability to take ownership of your decisions and their outcomes, and developing the confidence to make your voice heard. When students begin to take charge of their own learning, the curiosity that ignites within them can never be dampened. They become lifelong learners.

Where Teachers Come to Learn

In 2016, we launched a new division, EXPLO Studio, to take our teaching and learning philosophy and actively address the engagement problem facing so many schools and educators.

 In its inaugural year, Studio has launched an international Critical Making Camp for Educators, presented an interactive keynote with a herd of (cardboard) moose in Maine, and successfully implemented Foundations of Critical Making courses at Catholic Memorial School and Thayer Academy. 

 Their work — in addition to informing the courses and workshops offered at our summer programs — is leading a conversation about the way we teach and learn, and EXPLO has become a sought-after expert in critical making curriculum and pedagogy innovation. EXPLO has hosted educational policy experts from as far away as the University of Melbourne, students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and educators from Canada, China and Brazil. EXPLO will soon be presenting at the MIT Lifelong Learning Group and will be a participant in the MIT Media Labs Open Leadership Camp (co-hosted with Mozilla), designed for those who are at the forefront of their fields.

We’re also partnering with CERN — yes, home of the Large Hadron Collider — and Lightneer, a learning-game studio out of Finland. International education policy expert Pasi Sahlberg suggested Lightneer’s CEO visit EXPLO.  That visit blossomed into a partnership with Lightneer, CERN, and EXPLO.  EXPLO will take Lightneer’s new app, “Big Bang Legends,” and develop a particle physics course around it for 9- and 10 year-olds. The course will have a test run the course at EXPLO at Wheaton this summer, after which it will be made available to educators around the world (at no cost).

Whether through our summer programs or professional development, EXPLO designs remarkable teaching and learning experiences.

By Melissa Patricio

Tag: Exploration Programs, EXPLO at Wellesley, EXPLO at Wheaton, EXPLO Mini at Wheaton, EXPLO at Yale, EXPLO Studio, Focus Programs

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