U of M explorers start 'Earthducation' tour of the world

9:52 PM, Jan 17, 2011   |    comments
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  • Dr. Aaron Doering and Dr. Charlie Miller, U of M Learning Technologies
  • Dr. Charlie Miller and Dr. Aaron Doering, U of M Learning Technologies

MINNEAPOLIS -- A University of Minnesota team has kicked off a world tour to document education in different cultures and create a global story about the connections between education, environment and sustainability.

"I think for me education is the continuous experience of life and sustainability is the future of life," said Dr. Charlie Miller, associate professor of Learning Technologies at the U of M.

This project, dubbed Earthducation, is starting in the desert of western Africa.  Expedition 1 is to Burkina Faso, a land-locked country where the future will depend on the ability to provide a consistent supply of fresh water.

Expeditions 2-7 are planned for Europe (June 2011), Australia (January 2012), South America (June 2012), Asia (January 2013), North America (June 2013) and Antarctica (January 2014.)

"It's an opportunity for us to look at how we can leave the planet a better place," said Dr. Aaron Doering, associate professor of Learning Technologies at the U of M.

Doering has spent years on global expeditions. It was on trip to the Arctic where he realized there was a need for a project like Earthducation.

"Many times the education they are receiving is a complete disconnect from what they need to sustain themselves on the land and within their community," Doering explained.

"Where we're going in Africa, fresh water is very important aspect of sustainability," Miller said. "When we're in other locations around the world, those elements might change."

Doering and Miller will travel with a graduate student and videographer to seven locations around the world that are being impacted by climate change. Back at the university four other members of the team will manage web-based updates and video feeds from the trail. 

"There are also lessons that we've developed that teachers can go in and use," Earthducation Education coordinator Cassie Scharber said.   

Visitors to the Earthducation EnviroNetwork website will be invited to share their thoughts too, by uploading personal video clips.

"At the end of Expedition 7, this is going to be the show piece. It's going to be the global narrative of the project," Miller said about the website.

"We want to reach anyone in the world who can share their perspective on this," Doering added.

There's more information on this project at the Earthducation EnviroNetwork website.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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