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Merck grant enables creation of national model for experiential learning

Merck grant enables creation of national model for experiential learning
By Teresa McLain in February 6th 2012

Maps showing the Tanzania National Parks. Discussions of a three-week trip to a far-off continent. Chatter about gear needed to climb a 19,336-foot peak.

Elementary and secondary school teachers gathered in a room at Lawrence Street Center, but this was no ordinary staff meeting. With the maps, boxes of pizza and even a simulated campfire in a darkened classroom, teachers beamed as they got their first taste of this out-of-the-box approach to education.

XSci, the Experiential Science Education Research Collaborative in the School of Education & Human Development, rolled out its Africa 2012 kickoff meeting last month. And while XSci has taken teachers to Africa, including a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro, four other times, the summer 2012 trip marks a milestone for the experiential learning program.

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Colorado Teachers Taking Higher Education to a New Level

Colorado Teachers Taking Higher Education to a New Level
By Teresa McLain in June 15th 2012

Some of us may be cursing the cold weather and snow that has made several appearances in the Denver area in the past few weeks, but for a few Colorado elementary and secondary school teachers, it might be considered preparation for what they’ll experience this summer.

While Denver’s elevation and temperatures may be a learning experience for some, it probably won’t compare to education the teachers will receive when they climb the 19,336 feet to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro while coping with temperatures that can fall to -26 centigrade, a challenge they’ll face this summer as part of a project lead by the University of Colorado Denver and designed to get teachers out of the classroom and into real life experiences.

The 15 Colorado teachers will take part in the once-in-a-lifetime experience thanks to a $900,000 grant from the Merck Company Foundation to the University of Colorado Foundation Inc. The money supports UC’s involvement in the XSci Extraordinary Educator Experiences program.

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Inspire Me Africa Documentary Fundraiser

XSci’s Inspire Me Africa Documentary Fundraiser
By Teresa McLain in November 30th 2012

Inspire Me! Africa
Film Premiere and Fundraiser

28 Teachers. 15 Days. 1 Vision.

Inspire Me! Africa takes audience members on a journey with University of Colorado students and alumni who are teachers by profession. They travel through the heart of the Serengeti with its dramatic biological diversity, to Maasai villages, Tanzanian schools and AIDS orphanages for close interactions with the people and cultures of Africa. And, they trek up to the very roof of the African continent on the giant volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro. The film also follows the film’s subjects back into their U.S. classrooms to explore how their extraordinary experiences in Africa translate into inspiration for their students. The premiere will take place on Friday, December 14 at 6 p.m. in Tivoli Turnhalle on the Downtown Denver Campus.

Inspire Me! Africa is directed by Brad McLain at CU Denver’s Experiential Science Education Research Collaborative (XSci) within the School of Education & Human Development. Anthropologist Jane Goodall makes an appearance in the film, to share a story about her most inspirational teacher. In addition, Inspire Me Africa features a heroic former Evergreen High School teacher, Leslie Jankausky, who passed away in a tragic car accident following her trip to Africa.

“This film is both a celebration of the art of teaching and a powerful call-to-action to do it better,” explains Teresa Bell McLain, producer of Inspire Me! Africa and VP of Marketing and Strategy at XSci.

This film premiere serves as a fundraiser for the African schools and orphanages visited in the film, as well as the creation of a Jane Goodall Roots and Shoots Colorado based program at CU Denver. The Roots and Shoots program will create a venue for Colorado teachers and students to take action through projects that benefit the welfare of people, animals and the environment.

The event is sponsored by:

Tickets are $25 for students and teachers. Premium tickets are $100. For more information and tickets, please visit: www.xscifundraiser.org.

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