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Informal learning

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Informal learning

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Learning can take place anywhere, any time. It is not necessary to be in a classroom. We explore some non-traditional learning experiences at the beach in Argentina, a museum in Spain and up a mountain in Croatia.

Argentina: Science on holiday

In Cordoba, a handful of professors from Cordoba University patrol the beach. As part of their Promotion Programme, they are looking for people to talk to about science!

Programme founder Javier Martin explained: “Among all the different subjects that are on offer at the university, those we call “hard sciences” are the least in demand by prospective students. So we thought we’d make the most of the holidays when people are relaxing, it’s a great opportunity here in Cordoba, to show people what the university does in terms of science and maths. “

Not just on the beach, but all over town, university professors are on the look-out for likely candidates. They aim to communicate their passion for their subjects, and increase enrolment numbers for the autumn.

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Spain: Inspiring Creativity

In Barcelona, MIBA, (The Museum of Ideas and Inventions), opened a year ago. We follow a group of primary school children visiting the museum and joining the weekly workshop where they will imagine and create their own inventions. MIBA has lots of amusing and witty inventions on display. A slide leads down to a sort of cave full of innovative ideas. It is a great place for an informal lesson.

MIBA encourages the creation not only of “serious inventions” but also of apparently pointless, absurd and surrealistic inventions, things like the amusing Japanese gadget ‘Chindogu’. The museum organises a monthly contest, the mini MIBA, for children’s inventions. The prize is a patent registration, and a prototype construction of the winning invention.

Pep Torres, the founder and director of MIBA, has an international reputation as an inventor and designer. He told us: “Children’s imagination is a great thing but it is easily damaged. We want to encourage children to preserve and develop their ability to imagine, dream and invent things. We should protect children’s imaginations from prejudice and setbacks. Here we tell children – Hey, you can invent things too. So keep dreaming and imagining. Because actually, an inventor is a dreamer and an eternal child.”

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Croatia: Taking Risks

Hiking in the mountains can be a pleasure but there are certain risks involved. In order to be ready for any eventuality, the Junior Mountaineering School teaches children how to give first aid.

Ivan Hapac, Leader of the Junior Mountaineering School, explained how it works: “We want children to experience nature and the mountain as part of themselves, not as some place you just go to. We want them to feel good, and almost all the climbers, including the kids, show this.”

Rock climbing can help children overcome their insecurities and fears.

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