That being said, there are plenty of lessons to be learned for which technology is not necessary. I had a wonderful opportunity to accompany some SEED 9th graders on a 5-day sea kayaking expedition with Outward Bound. For those of you unfamiliar with Outward Bound, it is a wonderful organization that seeks to expose students to outdoor adventures in order to teach them important life lessons. We had the honor of being the very first sea kayaking expedition to run out of the Baltimore office of OB.
Check out some pictures:
So, that's the bad news. But, the good news is that our students had an amazing time. The adversity they faced only served to make them grittier and determined.
Let me give you an example. One of the first things we had to do was a "wet exit" test. Basically, the instructors need to know that if the kayak tips over, you can escape and not get trapped. So, how do we test that? Well, you swim out into the Chesapeake Bay, get into your kayak (no easy task), and the instructor flips you upside down in the water to make sure you can escape. Also, the water is 44 degrees. If you didn't shiver just now, then you don't comprehend what being dunked into water of that temperature would feel like. Not one of my students hesitated or made a fuss over this. Believe me, it wasn't easy.
Although our trip was cut short, it was a tremendous experience for our students. I know they grew in ways that are hard to measure. It just goes to show that not all learning can (or should) take place in a classroom. As an ardent supporter of technology in the classroom, sometimes the best possible thing is to leave it all behind and head into nature. Just ask these guys!