July 20, 2018

Quick Chat: Recognizing informal learning

Canada Research Chair in Creativity and STEM Jennifer Adams discusses the ways in which individuals engage in science education outside the classroom
Jennifer Adams

Dr. Jennifer Adams is the Canada Research Chair in Creativity and STEM at the University of Calgary.

When someone asks you the question, “what does learning look like?”, the chances are good that the first visuals that come to mind are pretty standard: a classroom, students in the desks , teacher at the front; black board/white board, clock on the wall….

But what about a campground at night, with hundreds of stars glistening in the dark sky, or the possibility of an aurora sighting?  A museum exhibit featuring gems and minerals, or a re-creation of a living space of an ancient civilization?  An even an on-line post of a video?

Those are all places where learning can, and does, take place.  Through what is called informal education, people are constantly exposed to opportunities to explore, through creativity, different aspects and methods of learning.

Dr. Jennifer Adams has been thinking about where, how, and when informal education takes place.  As the recently appointed Canada Research Chair in Creativity and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at UCalgary, the associate professor works with both the Werklund School of Education and the Department of Chemistry in the Faculty of Science.

Dr. Adams’ works centres around the theory that educators need to consider the multitude of informal learning opportunities that take place in the field of science each and every day, and that a key to understanding more about this aspect of creativity is to develop strong interdisciplinary, collaborative connections.

In this Quick Chat, Adams discusses what she’s learned so far, and what she hopes to do while at UCalgary.