Wider Worldview: Tacit Knowledge Through Travel

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Megan

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Megan Zink

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Transcript

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Hi, everyone. Welcome.

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To wider worldview

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of podcast

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exploring the power of travel and how it can change the world, spark new ideas, foster different perspectives, and and catalyst curiosity and life fun learning. I'm your host, Megan Zinc, I'm a marketer by day, a passionate travel journalist when I can fit it in,

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and a lifelong learner always.

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I believe the power of travel can make the world better place.

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Join us for conversations for much entrepreneurs, educators and floors and get inspired to tap into travel as an experiential a learning tool

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and empathy building tool.

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Today, I am so excited to introduce you to Gamer Kelly. Fellow, Fireside,

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author,

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speaker,

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educator, founder of bright school in San Francisco,

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the

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institute of tinkering,

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computer scientists, so many other things. Welcome, Gamer. How are you?

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Megan, I'm good. And

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thank you for my favorite rambling

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intro.

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It's starting to get really lot. You are a true multi hyphen favorite..

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I hate to think that that might just be because I've been around for long enough, but

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thank you. And and it it's great to be here.

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You know, since we started kind of talking about this idea,

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I've been talking to my students about it, and

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it it's just ...I think there's something,

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there's something about how we think about education that often leaves out the topic of travel altogether. So I'm I'm really excited for our conversation today.

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Same here because that is exactly

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what I wanted to talk to you about

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But before we dive into that media subject, I wanted to kind start with a pretty open ended question to sort of set the stage for our audience.

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And

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just kinda get your thoughts on what do think about the current state of primary secondary

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and even higher education?

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It's a lot question

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say that that's quite an opener, but I, you know, put successfully, I think that we are

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we are pushing an old

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founded model

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as hard as we possibly can.

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And

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we're starting to see

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for the past few decades what the negative impacts of a

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what we think of as traditional classroom based education

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can have

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negative impacts like ap,

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students

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saying things when they graduate, like,

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I'm glad that's over. Now. I don't have to learn anything anymore.

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These all might be viewed as

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as evidence that what we're trying and what we're putting them through

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might not be working.

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So

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I would say the

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the the era of the hierarchical

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top down authority based classroom

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that takes agency away from students and puts it in textbooks.

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Is

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is on its way out that our next ...the next evolution of education will be around

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student agency.

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I love that so much.

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And, you know, you're really the first one. I ...i

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it's funny. I think this is very meta because I think I sort of intuitively knew

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about the idea of tests knowledge, but I didn't really ever.

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Text ...you know, I hadn't had it really, like,

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very

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physically presented to me. So,

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you know, our conversation.

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I just couldn't stop thinking about it. You were the one that kind of really

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introduce this idea in a very solid manner.

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So tax knowledge that is intuitive knowledge that kind of comes from context

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experience practice values.

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It's kinda hard to communicate. Usually, it lives internally.

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Can you share a little bit about your organizations that that institute for Tinkering and right work school in San Francisco.

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And maybe just a difference in sort of the teaching methods k to other schools.

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So

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just to play off of the term of tested knowledge, I think that

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you know,

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one of the founders

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of

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kind of modern conception of education is this brilliant guy,

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Dha,

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and

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he and Maria

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And another guy who's very much ...known.

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But his name is One pepper, We're all

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kind of looking at how learning happens in childhood

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and what they realized is that when children are at play.

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They appear to be able to acquire

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and integrate new knowledge

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at a at a remarkable rate.

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Oftentimes,

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you know, many many times faster

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than, you know, lecture context or reading out of a book,

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they would see children, like, constructing these

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shared

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fantastical

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narratives that had

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incredible detail, and they would retain that detail for weeks on end, even if they hadn't played the game again.

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So,

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obviously, there was something going on there and that led Dj to form this idea

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of the

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the

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construction

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approach to

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to knowledge.

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Right? Which is how we organized.

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We build strikes his idea of construction is we build structures inside our mind

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to hang

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and organize the knowledge

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together.

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Sort of these like,

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scaffolding, if you will. And

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that structure comes from the

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experience

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of learning.

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So

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his notion is

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that

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we we we build these internal structures as we learn

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as educators, we have very little access to what those structures are because they're entirely personal to the student.

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And then

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he one Of me is part, see more Pepper took this idea,

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and came up with the notion of constructive

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learning,

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which would be

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the things we learn while we make other things

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and what they were both getting at, it turns out

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was the notion that this

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Casa knowledge

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is maybe the most valuable

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there's the facts that we need to know about,

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you know, ice melts at this temperature,

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Abraham Lincoln was elected in this year.

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The those facts end up being decorations

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on these structures that the students create,

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and we can help them create those structures by giving them agency either by

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letting them make things but express their own ideas or letting them

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explore

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a new idea on their own. That's what Pi was really looking at in what

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his other Per

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Maria Mono really took that idea and ran with it.

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So

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the

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framework here Bright works is very much inspired by

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these people's work in the area of education

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and the notion of

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the

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empowerment that comes from giving students agency in their own learning

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to create their own learning plans to

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support them as they explore ideas in their own ways.

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It turns out that they retain more you know? I think the corollary to

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test knowledge is the realization that

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intrinsically motivated learning is just much more valuable and durable than

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intrinsically motivated.

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So

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if I'm using grades to get you to study

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you're studying just enough to meet those grades.

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But if you're studying in researching because you're desperately

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interested about something,

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you're gonna go much further beyond the boundaries of the textbook,

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and you're gonna hold on that for much longer.

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So I hope that wasn't too long winded, but

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now you're

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give was that.

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I do wish that we were on, like a video call because you would see me just seriously nodding

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you know we had talked about these ideas of just antiquated

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you know, types of education. And, obviously, it's all very, you know, good and it it's needed and there's structure and it's been,

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the foundation has been built over a very long time period, but I just ...I absolutely agree. I think that, you know, it's like, the I can't even tell you how many times I've heard why I don't need to know what our parabola, like, you know, just other stuff that

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Yeah. Absolutely.

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And thank you everybody so much for joining us. We are here with David Tony. He is

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I mean, there's no shortage of things that he said he is,

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officially the founder of

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the right work school in San Francisco, which I am just absolutely fascinated with, and

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as well as,

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you know,

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many different ...he's a speaker. He's a a a a ted speaker. He's an author. He came out with a book called fifty day things. You should let your children do

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And

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just all over the the the place, the institute of five three. So we're gonna be talking about travel and how actually travel can

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Build this idea of tested knowledge that you were just talked about and how it can really just teach different skill sets.

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So if you have any questions for Gay, please be sure to save them to the end. We will definitely leave five minutes if the for questions. If that more.

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Yeah. Absolutely Gave, that was such a great answer. And, you know, I I would love to get a little bit more into this idea of travel. So I realized

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you did podcast for Bb

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last year, which kind of talked about this idea of

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controlled risk.

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And how you an educational tool.

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Do think it kind of done to? Do you think that travel is perhaps a study and controlled risk?

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I

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I think that's a

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really important aspect of travel and

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and a really key element to

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the very notion of engagement.

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Right?

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Risk always introduces

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you know, not to get too neurological about it, but there's always this little some of

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adrenaline

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involved when we assess a situation and see the risk Right? Or when

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we

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look at something and we become nervous because we realize we don't fully understand it. And so there's a

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existential risk of of not knowing.

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And

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I think that

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there's there there's two aspects to risk and

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and

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and education that are really

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key.

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One is that

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we see that

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students

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will

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create risk

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when

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there isn't any ...you know? And my favorite example of this is

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you put the kids in the classroom and they're sitting in their chairs,

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and there's a couple of kids who are leaning back in their chairs right at the balance point where it's gonna fall down.

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Right? And over the course of

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few days of instruction with your new class. You see that there's always a couple of kids falling over in their chairs.

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It's because they're self they're they're self stimulating

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a little bit of a adrenaline to keep their attention on what's going on

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in the classroom. They need that

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they need that to support their engagement.

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It turns out when we when we look at this in clinical settings, it it actually really does help.

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Those kids are able to pay more attention than if we force them to sit still

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and and and do ...like like, if we both their chair to the ground as some of the

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classrooms do.

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But the

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the other element of the

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the other role that risk plays in education that I think is really important is

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to

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really reframe learning as the hero's journey.

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And and and just to sort of explicitly tie it back to travel.

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It's not just the metaphorical element of, like, I'm going on this physics journey, and I'm gonna learn everything I need to pass A physics

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that obviously, wouldn't fly.

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But if we

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if we take the student,

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if we give them a launch,

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to

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to take their learning to new locations,

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they

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start to see themselves in it in a different context

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as an explorer.

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Right? Not as somebody who's is being spoon fed

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from a textbook in a class term more from a programmed curriculum,

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but

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as a

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as an authentic explorer of the world,

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and that

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turns on all of these other things

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and their their acuity goes up, their situational awareness goes up

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their

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their spatial awareness goes up. There are all of these characteristics that get amplified when we have any

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a travelers mindset,

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you know? And and and I think that that ...when

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that comes into play, all of the learning is augmented.

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Because

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you're

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you're not changing modes. If you're learning French, when you're in France,

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your

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your French absorption rate is not just up because you're in the context.

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It's up because your brain is ticking over and a higher

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at a higher level of engagement.

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Yeah. I am ...it's it's so fascinating that you mentioned this because I actually ...I was doing some research, and I've really started to recently get interested in this psychology of travel and, like, this is your brain on travel in quotes making career.

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And it was talking about this idea that

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it puts you in all of these different capacities

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with a little kick of adrenaline

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and

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you know, you are forced to operate and it completely different manner, and therefore, it actually

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stimulates

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the neurological connections,

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and it does make your great your brain grow.

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And I ...go

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ahead. I if you have so,

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I I was just gonna build on that a little bit about your brain growing, but the ...yeah.

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The truth is

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you know, one of the things that they discovered

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as long ago as the sixties,

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that in

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student study habits it, if they study in the same location

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day,

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their ability to

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recall information goes down

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because there's no ...there's

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no temporal context for them to refer to. They can't remember what they were doing last Thursday night because they were sitting at the exact same desk in the Jackson location in their room.

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Right? Now for a small percentage of students,

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this works really well because they can't handle any

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cognitive

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interruption

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Right?

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But for the majority of students

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being in a different place,

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as you ...as

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you learn things,

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actually,

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not only anchors the new stuff you're learning to the new

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understanding you're constructing in your head, it anchors it to your internal timeline.

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So if you can't remember your French very well,

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remembering that to the Cafe

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outside, the store bond, where you studied, obviously.

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Will allow you to

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connect back into that

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French language mindset you had built

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and for you to access that vocabulary that you're struggling with right in the moment because now you're down in, you know, French

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Or something.

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Absolutely. I I love that so much. And that kind of goes a little bit into this next piece that I wanna talk

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about and absolutely.

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As she says it's the almost of three and a professional travel consultant, I'm an advocate of experiences in travel for learning,

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which is exactly where we're going with this. I do wanna take a quick second to let everybody know that there will be some time for q and a. So if you have any questions, please drop them in the chat or your invite yourself absolutely to come up and ask You them yourself.

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The cave. So this idea of experiential

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learning through travel and

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allowing,

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you know, to to get

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the benefits about. And it it seems kind of unfair to me that, you know,

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I was ...I didn't really ever get the chance. I don't think maybe I was just naive.

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But I feel like people were talking about, you know, study abroad with, like a co collision thing.

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Obviously, you know, I had the privilege to do that. Not everybody gets to, but

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even even in high school, there's a little bit of o, you might be traveling with sports. You might be traveling with the bait club or what have you. But Do you think it's possible for travel to ever get a larger stake in the curriculum?

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Well,

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I think it's ...I

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think we shouldn't be asking

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could ...I I think we should be asking how ...I

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I think that ...we

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have a saying it at Tinkering school at the summer camp

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program. And

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the the same is

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Tinkering school is built on magic,

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but

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there is no magic. It's just hard work.

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And and

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what we're

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what we're getting at there is that

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like a lot of very complex problems,

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this idea of integrating travel into curriculum for students across the United States and across the world

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is

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is just a really hard problem and it's gonna require

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very hard work.

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But i

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I think the

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the place to start might be to

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to start with some grant sourcing

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and to see if we could or or private the donor

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even

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to

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put together

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a

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a test case almost

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working with an inner city, public school,

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find candidates students that self nine nominated into the program

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so that we have some

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intrinsic interest,

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and then

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actually

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track those students over the course of, you know, four to ten years or something as a as a long term study to see what the impact is.

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Right? You know,

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schools are obviously gonna be looking to see if it bumps their grades, but I think we could look beyond that. Does it

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does it increase their positivity in terms of their outlook? Does it broaden there?

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Sense of

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of personal horizons in

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roles that they could imagine themselves taking later in life. You know, in in terms of what they consider as career options.

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But I think the,

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the impacts like the Ta knowledge

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could be very

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fine grained and very individualistic.

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So we would need a sample set of a hundred students or something in order to

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really test the idea. But I feel like that's something also, you know, Bill Gates could

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fund it completely with for ten minutes of interest income. But

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a hundred person percent well, I

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I ...yeah. I and that was gonna be my other question is, you know, it's a ...it's

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a very ...it's not the could it's the how and it it is rife with problems and challenges. So

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in your opinion, do think that a majority of it, it's funding or do you think that there's other

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parameters or our?

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I I think there are said there are some logistical complexities around travel, and that's where

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you know, you would be an expert into that conversation or it sounds like Su as well.

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Right? And there are plenty of organizations that

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currently

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support students traveling abroad,

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But I think that they're

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their their offerings tend to be very

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pre programmed their recipe based.

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And if we're ...if what we're trying to see is

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what does this student become when they

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become a traveler on their own, not just a member of a tour?

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I think

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that's the

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that's the true growth opportunity in education. And so that introduces

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we would need to put together a proposal that

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this justifies

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this much of this student's

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curriculum time

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if we

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put them on a journey that takes

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two weeks, let's say or, you know, let ...I not even sure what number of the blur out there. Let's say it's to meet for right now.

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Put this student on a two week journey or it's ...actually,

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because everything is better when we iterate,

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we ought to do

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a ...a

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two week journey staged more locally,

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you know, like, within the country or in Canada or Mexico or something.

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And then a two week journey,

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a semester later,

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in

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in another country.

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Right?

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Because then we would we would get to see them

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practice some of those skills they acquired in what would be be perceived as a

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less risky

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first time travel experience.

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Yeah there.

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So I'm already the, like, jumping in with the pe hat, but

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Yes.

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Very, you certain of this destruction Yeah. Yeah exactly. You need ...you need a proposal to sort of think about and chew on, and then I mean, granted, we're just having a conversation about it, but ...but

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the more I think about it, the more

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going back to our thesis here,

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the ta knowledge of travel, and I think this came up because you were telling a story the first time I met you

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where you were talking about, you had gone to some place and the travel plans kind of fell apart.

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And you were in another country and had to figure out what to do next.

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Yeah.

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Yeah.

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So

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without being artificial about it, but,

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you know, with being authentic?

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How do we create a moment where

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students have an opportunity to

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become self reliant? Right? And then

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I think

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we would spend time in the classroom

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talking about the kinds of things that can happen when we're traveling. And

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the ways that we,

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you know, we

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build and develop and retain our growth mindset so that we're always looking at this miserable experience while we hike six kilometers in the rain to get to the train station.

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That that we

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you know, we sort of

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prepare them for what we know

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is the unknown.

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Yeah.

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Yes.

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Absolutely.

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Well, this ...I could talk about this forever.

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So I think probably we'll need a part two, part three.

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We'll have to talk about the actual logistics because I live love, you know, to be able service..

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So thinking about the unknown, I actually ...I have this fun

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section called three travel takes, and it's just supposed to be quick little

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one word answers,

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and I I love, you know, to get your perspective. So first one, where was the first place you traveled outside of your nose?

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New York City.

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Oh, wow.

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That is quite a ...outside

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of your know good for you. Yeah.

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Where have you travel? That was different from what you've recommended?.

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One word answer.

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Yeah

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Canada.

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I was very young. That's moved to Canada. Yeah.

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That's i good on

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that And before I get to the the last one, if anybody has any questions for Gay, please feel free to invite yourself up.

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I ...you know, I we covered a lot of ground here, so I I'm sure that everybody has some thoughts and I'd love to have you up.

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But otherwise, the the last one,

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what is the best thing that you brought back from a trip, whether it was an idea,

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a literal object,

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a relationship, or recipe,

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doesn't have to be one more answer. Oh,.

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You know?

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Okay. I'll use New York as

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as the starting point because that was the first time I'd had ever gotten on a commercial

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airplane and I was twenty three

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the first time I ever flown on a jet.

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And

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but a few years later,

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I went to

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London on a vacation, and

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I

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in London,

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I got robbed in an alley.

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I took a ferry to Ireland

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in the rain

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during a ferry strike. And so speaking of travel hiccups,

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we we were, like, nine hours late arriving in the Ireland because of the ferry strike.

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And and it had to figure out what to do in dublin in it three in the morning.

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You know, to find a place to live. I mean, to sleep. And

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it ...you know, when we got home from that, trip, and I was, you know, reflecting back on it.

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The thing that

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then I brought back was not just these incredible, like,

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code chrome images in my mind of how green Ireland is, you know, which as there as I can tell is a a piece of land with, like, green plato squeezing out of it from underneath and every.

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It wasn't just that, but it was the

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the sense that

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the

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the

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The thing that holds back despair

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is

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is being open to the experience in the moment and enjoying

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that it's different even if it's miserable.

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So that

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that was the biggest thing I brought back from that. And that perspective has gotten me through a lot of really hard times.

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Like, like, wow. This really sucks right now. This is gonna be so good in the movie that I make about this moment.

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And that is precisely why I don't think it's we have to figure out a way to make that accessible to more people because it's just

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it's ...I

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have had so many times where it's just it it really just

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not so be shape or or literal, but it white the worldview view.

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No.

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Yeah Yeah.

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I think to,

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you know, when you when you hear about travel and you haven't traveled,

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it seems like something that people only do in the movies and on Tv and things like that.

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But

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when you actually get to travel. There's something incredibly

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human about it. Like you you can

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you can't stay in the anthropologist mindset of, like, look at how strange these alien,

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you know, people are in this strange world called Ireland,

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you

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you end up

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making that human connection

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whether you mean to or not, and you suddenly realize that you know,

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these these people are just ...these are my people. You know?

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Yes. It's like we it it degrade the other. Honestly, I think you were the one that said that ...and and I've really matched on that,

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You know,

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taking down that wall of the other.

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Because we all are oh much more like them. We are different. It's just getting over that

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psychological hump, which

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I would love to explore more because I feel like there's a psychological wall of, like, oh, different

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bad, scary.

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But really, in in in reality, it's not.

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Yeah.

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I think,

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you know, when we ...when we say world,

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you know, something that this generation of students is quite likely to experience is the

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experience of looking back at the Earth as a blue marble.

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You know?

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We're gonna see more space travel in the next twenty five to fifty years

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than

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than ever before. And, you know, if

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various people have their way.

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It could be ...maybe

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not as common as air travel, but

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not

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not far behind.

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And

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I

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I think that

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looking back at the blue marble, if you've never gotten a chance to look

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anywhere else in the world

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wouldn't have the same impact.

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You know, if you hadn't

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into a country where you didn't speak the language, if you

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hadn't been to a country where

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you looked like the other.

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If you if you hadn't been somewhere

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they give you an opportunity to experience

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kind of a major setback in your plan

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and recover from it.

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Yeah. Absolutely. Well, oh my gosh. My mind is literally excited.

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Maybe one day, we could talk about just the the the fact that we just said that out loud, Like, space shuttle is gonna become a norm.

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No.

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That's wild. Well, thank you. So much Saver. This was an absolutely fascinating conversation. I loved every minute of it. I would love to have you back on to talk about all calls kinds of other things

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if people wanted to find out more about you,

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the institute applied tinkering, the right art school and San Francisco, your work, where can they find you?

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Well, the easiest places is to just go to ga dot com,

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and that's sort of my landing page that points at all the things I'm working on. So

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you can get from there to the summer camp that I

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founded and run every summer or the school that I founded in looked at during the school year.

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It's a it it's a good starting point.

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I love it. Well, thank you again so much.

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We ...like I said, what a wonderful conversation, and thank you to everybody for tuning in, and why knowing you're a worldview with us here on Fireside.

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On your host, Megan Think,

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You can learn about more about wider worldview and grab links to previous episodes over at w dot

...

color curiosity dot com.

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Can't speak

...

or follow us on social media color dot and that curiosity.

...

We'll see you back here next week. On Tuesday at seven thirty. This is kind of a special time,

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but we'll see you then. Catch you on Fireside, and thanks again, Gamer.

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So thank you

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for.

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Yes. Absolutely.

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Folks can.

Fortune Cookie