This retreat has emerged from many years of collaboration between the UGA College of Education and the Ocean Alliance. Our other partner and supporter has been Cape Ann Whale Watch Company of Gloucester, MA. Ms. Cynde Bierman, of the OA, and Dr. John Schell, along with Ms. Judy Milton of UGA, have jointly created a class on situated cognition theory. The field-based course uses a community format for exploring learning and teaching for environmental awareness. The official title of the course at The University of Georgia is Situated Cognition Theory and Implications for Teaching. It is offered as a split-level course for pre-service education majors and for in-service teachers and adult educators. As the title of the course implies, the situation or context is important to how learners learn and use knowledge. From the beginning, the course has served students in the College of Education in the Departments of Workforce Education, Leadership, and Social Foundations and Adult Education Program. Often students from other majors such as instructional technology, educational psychology, middle school education and a variety of students from math and science education have taken the course.

The course was originally created in 1995 by Dr. Schell and Dr. Margaret Holt, Department of Adult Education at UGA. It was offered annually on campus from 1995 to 1998. Since the collaboration of the Ocean Alliance and UGA, the course has evolved into a field-based class combining classroom, field experiences, and reflection activities. That class is now the forbearer of the proposed institute.

In 2002, the course was modified to transition to the institute format. Beginning that year the content was more focused on the preparation and development of teachers who are committed to improving the ocean environment through the efforts of themselves and their students. While the focus is on school teachers, the founders of the institute broadly construe the concept of teaching. That is, almost any one with a professional interest in teaching and learning from any academic or vocational discipline is welcome to participate in the Discovery Retreats.

Because of the success of the class and the commitment of the founding faculty, we are proposing to institutionalize this approach by creating a formal entity that has financial integrity, continuous procedures, an organizational structure, and part-time contracting staff.





John W. Schell
at jschell@uga.edu.

Judy Milton
at jmilton@uga.edu.

Cynde McInis
at cyndebierman@

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There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.  We are all crew.  ~Marshall McLuhan, 1964