How do I access our learner’s internal altruistic calling?

It’s interest how humans start to adapt to the status quo so much that the status quo becomes our new reality. So much is the case for our earth as consumerism and economic growth had disconnected us from working with nature’s already existing processes.  There is so much fear of an environmental apocalypse that we think there is nothing else we can do when in fact this fear and sense of scarcity of time invites opportunity to learn how to design a lifestyle in which we can work in tandem with nature’s already existing processes.

S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math): Gaia is fairly a new course.  The course is in it’s 3rd years of iteration.  Though in the first two years of implementing this course, framing the course around a global theme was something I was struggling with until this past summer when I attended the Sonoma State’s North Bay International Studies which focused their professional development on training teacher’s on using design thinking to help our kids develop a sense of agency as it revolves around the Sustainability Development Goals (SDG’s).  It’s a little overwhelming to focus on all 17 goals, but I’m also seeing that many of these goals are being worked on globally in a parallel and interconnected fashion which provides a ray of hope in the work that we are doing to meet these goals by 2040. It’s making me think how I can get my student involved in delving into these SDG’s.

How do I developed this sense of agency within my learners?  I’m sure that all student have some level of agency when it comes to saving our planet but what they lack is the opportunity to do so.  When I think of agency, I think about developing our youth’s internal altruistic calling that is easily accessible when an opportunity to solve a dilemma comes about.

Leveraging Alternate Realities and Gamification to Develop One’s Sense of Calling

A great way to get our learners into this internal altruistic calling is making sure they are are part of something bigger than themselves.   I’m a fan of developing adventure stories as a game designer.  I always wondered how I can immerse my kids in a heroic journey and adventure in an alternate reality.  At this point, our student’s reality can be fairly boring so hopefully immersing our student in such adventures where they have solve problems to restore something can not only be extrinsically rewarding due the achievement of owning their learning but it also can be intrinsically rewarding when it comes to looking at how their action affects the bigger picture and affect a trans-generational timeline.    Below is the premise of the course.

“Planet Gaia is in it’s final phase before the planet is deemed uninhabitable by life.  The temperatures are rising, disease spreads, biodiversity shrinks, storms floods pockets of civilization, doughts leave area of Gaia parched, and Gaia trembles in anguish, anger, and pain.  The planet’s pre-apocalyptic form is due to the citizen’s unsustainable choices. Now all Gaia’s citizen’s can do is hide from the artificial man made effects of their choices as Gaia attempts to re-balance and heal itself.  Unfortunately attaining this equilibrium will take hundreds of years, like a deep wound takes a significant amount of time to heal.  Gaia’s citizens don’t have that time to spare. Is there the slightest ray of hope as time is of essences?  A group of Gaia’s youth seizes the opportunity, a calling, to re-balance Gaia.  It won’t be an easy task as the citizen’s unsustainable lives have manifested the 8 THREATS which feeds and festers off of Gaia’s essence.  Gaia’s youth, who now call themselves “The Guardians of Gaia”, gather together on an epic adventure as they journey to forbidden terrains to eradicate the THREATS and liberate Gaia’s essence. By liberating the essences, the Guardians of Gaia can transform these THREATS into sustainable opportunities finally restore Gaia back to a form that will support life and transform the mindset of Gaia’s citizens to live sustainably so that  Gaia will never see the THREAT manifested in its lifetime again.”

How might you design an experience that will immerse your learner in an adventure that will engage them in learning?

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