Curious about the Virtual Camps?

The Conundrum of an Experiential Virtual Camp

 

Lynda Rolph, Traidhos Head of Community justifies the value of participating in virtual camps

 

When you read that Traidhos Camps will offer virtual camps throughout June and July, did you wonder how these camps could be delivered? Did you dismiss the idea because the whole purpose of camp is being in one place learning and having fun with different people? Did you think that maybe Traidhos Camp was abandoning its vision in a desperate attempt to generate income in these challenging times?

 

As a primary school teacher and in more recent times an environmental educator, these are questions that I have considered carefully. I always want participants to have a rich learning experience. We all know that too much screen time is not good for students and of the dangers that hide behind the screen for young people. Our challenge was this: would it be possible to deliver quality environmental education programs virtually? Could the value of the activities override the potential negative of another morning on the computer?

 

Environmental Education traditionally has five components. It aims to raise awareness, develop attitudes, share knowledge, equip with skills and encourage participation. If we could create programs that achieved these aims, using interactive games that enabled virtual participants to communicate and collaborate with each other, then I believed the virtual programs would be strong and worthwhile.

 

Working with our team of experienced educators, we crafted four distinct programs. Journey Through Thailand draws on the experience and strength of our environmental educator team in Bangkok. Staff took the key concepts we teach about at forest, river and marine sites such as adaptations, sustainability, human impact and interconnections, to create a ten day program that transports students to habitats within Thailand, while letting them think about global issues and challenging them to make small lifestyle changes in their home and daily life.

 

Wacky Wizard Week and Superhero Academy consider the qualities that make heroes and how we can foster the growth of positive characteristics in our own lives. We take the environment around us and learn more about the superhero qualities of plants and materials; we consider the role  and qualities of companions including historical mythical monsters; there is the chance to be creative off screen and to share and reflect on the different collaborative and individual tasks.

 

The virtual English Camp allows students to interact with native speakers, to use English in an everyday setting and to practice the four language skills. The subject material is related to the stories of author Roald Dahl and is delivered through games, listening exercises, writing tasks and discussions.

 

I am content that each program captures the essence of great environmental education. I believe that while interacting with staff and the materials in a safe on-line environment, participants will learn, collaborate, reflect, develop skills and will be stirred to take action in a positive way as a result of their virtual camp experience.

 

So I encourage you to sign up your children for virtual camp. You will have the peace of mind as a parents that they are not wasting their holidays, they will not be playing violent games alone in their bedroom, staring silently at the screen for long hours, watching video after video or causing havoc with siblings! Rather, they will be engaged in relevant environmental education programs, interacting with experienced educators in their field, developing the qualities that characterize caring human beings and making friends with other virtual campers.

 

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