There' s a school in them there Woods. Matt Schlein raised the funds to purchase 260 acres of land and open the Walden Project- an innovative high school where class is held outdoors (except for when they have it in a motley-looking tent). The curriculum is based around Thoreau's writing, but by no means is no means limited. The NPR article notes:
"There's no need to go out in the hall or grab a new book. That's because everything is related, so class discussion about the recent primary vote in neighboring New Hampshire is just another aspect of the school's simple mission. Like Thoreau, students are supposed to be exploring their relationship to self, their relationship to culture and their relationship to the natural world."
This sounds quite similar to all the edu-talk about creating authentic learning environments through the use of global personal learning networks and other technological tools. The Walden Project doesn't utilize technology (though, as a joke, their tent has a satellite dish), but yet it sounds like authentic learning is taking place. One student is managing a corner of the forest. He's selectively culling some trees to determine if he can increase the biodiversity of plant life.
Personally, I'm drawn to the Walden Project model- I love the outdoors and would love to get to spend my days teaching in such an environment. I realize this isn't a feasible solution for the vast majority of schools and students. However, I do find it interesting that while many of us edu-bloggers are talking incessantly how technology can create authentic, interconnected learning, here's an example of a completely different solution that seems to basically have the same goals in mind. Perhaps technology is just a filler for those of us who don't have 260 acres of land to teach on...