Monday, May 22, 2017

My Experiential Learning Week in Lethbridge

At the VRKADE in Lethbridge
(l-r) First row: Irvin Provost, Euwen Erickson, Cassandra, Sebastien C., Christian S., William S. Curtis 
Second row: Mr. Lamont, Mrs. Hankey, Joshua Fitzgerald, Brook Balazs, and Eva Bliss

Irvin Provost - Matthew Halton High School (MHHS) hosted their bi-annual event, “Experiential Learning Week” during the first week of May. As part of MHHS’s learning initiative, the school offers students week-long courses that give a chance to students to experience hands experience to a student. As a student, I chose to participate in the school’s collaborative-course between MHHS and the University of Lethbridge. The activities of the trip included a campus tour, a chance to explore the facilities, and attend a class. Our course gave us the chance to meet with professors, who presented issues related to water. Overall, our week gave the nine of us a look at the transition between high school and post-secondary life.

As it is with any university-routine, we woke up early to prepare breakfast then made our way to the water research building on campus to attend our course. As part of the program, professors were scheduled to provide us lessons in their field that related to water issues. Following their lessons, the instructors gave us aid as we made our way through designing prototypes. Before we could begin to prototype ideas, each group had to come up with a goal to work towards to. With full-access to the university’s state-of-the-art technology, it made our design process easier.

Eva Bliss, a participant from Nanton, said a few things about the course, “I was able to express my ideas and they were accepted and valid… I am going to use what I learned in the experiential learning week for future reference.”

Joshua Fitzgerald, Sebastien Collins, and Brook Balazs brainstorming ideas for water-related issues.
After a week of designing, our hypothetical ideas were pitched to faculty staff and professors. The first group designed a prototype that combatted oil-ponds, the second group developed a machine to counter water-thermal pollution, and the final group developed two machines to help counter the aboriginal-reserve water crisis. Interestingly, no ideas were left off the table, the instructors made the mantra of the week clear, “If you say it is a duck, it is a duck”. The whole course gave us the introductory skills of being a designer.

Instructors Cassandra and Curtis working hard to help the members of the trip

Aside from course-work, the school and university scheduled some events for a night-out with the group. On May 2nd, the nine of us got a chance to explore a mall and watch a movie. We were also given access to the gym equipment and rock-climbing center. But the highlight of our recreational activities was the trip to the recently-opened “VRKADE” in Lethbridge. The whole group, after a week of designing and learning, got the chance to ease-down and have a fun night out with friends. Overall, the trip provided us with relevant skills, an opportunity to explore the campus, and a chance to see what may lie ahead in our futures.

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