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Learning(Hu)Man virtual 'Summer Camp' electrifies education changemaking conversations


Learning(Hu)Man Logo

Learning(Hu)Man Digital Immersive Summer Camp.

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August 10, 2020

Education changemakers from six continents around the world packed their bandanas, canteens and open minds for the summer camp experience of a lifetime at Learning(Hu)Man 2020, hosted by ASU ShapingEDU. Campers gathered daily around the virtual flagpole and campfire from July 21–27, for a weeklong, digital immersive summer camp experience that was an experimental fusion of hands-on learning, storytelling and tech hacks.

The camp team worked tirelessly to create a campground of immersive and interactive experiences that allowed the more than 2,600 registered campers to push the creative envelope for how they serve students and advance learner success. Led by more than 90 camp counselors, including today’s top education and industry leaders like ASU President Michael Crow, Learning(Hu)Man campers were treated to 180-plus activities that allowed them to explore best practices in learning design, edtech tools and development, and emergent thinking around the art of the possible – while making sure that enabling student success was at the core of it all.

“There was really something for everyone because Learning(Hu)Man was designed for all,” said Samantha Becker, executive director of creative and communications for ASU’s University Technology Office and “camp groundskeeper.”  “We emphasize individuals over affiliations — meaning changemaking can happen at every level and in every role. Learning(Hu)Man honored that spirit of global and intergenerational collaboration.”

Campers met up around the campfire, around the flagpole, on the beach at the ASU immersive VirBELA campus and on Learning(Hu)Man’s three Slack channels (designated for learning, sharing resources and fun and creative play) for community learning and fun.

Learning(Hu)Man utilized Zoom, ASU Live and VirBELA technologies to deliver the around the flagpole and campfire plenary sessions, while neighborhood breakout sessions were accessible using concurrent Zoom meetings for campers to choose from. These options allowed for a personalized, unique experience in whatever format campers felt most engaged.

Learning(Hu)Man Digital Event

Highlights to write home about

Each day at camp was chock full of “pocket rocks” or meaningful learning, connection and fun and creative play experiences worthy of holding on to long after camp officially ended. Let’s glance at some programming highlights:

July 20: Welcome

Curious and excited campers from around the world arrived at the virtual campground to hear the camp directors walk through the Learning(Hu)Man values and how to make the most of their camp experience. They also listened to the original Learning(Hu)Man camp theme song, written and performed by Camp Music Director and ASU Executive Director of Strategic Implementation Office Warick Pond.

July 21: Flipping Scary Stories

A day of learning, fun and conversation around wading through the fear of starting something new and doing the work of innovation. (Flashlight not required.)

Around the Flagpole: What Matters and Why: Whittling the Future of Education

ASU President Michael Crow welcomed campers around the flagpole as he spoke about the evolution of learning, how to shape a more equitable, individualized learning experience, and how technology allows for the first chance at egalitarian access to education. Where does President Crow see ASU in five years? A learning enterprise for anyone, anywhere, at any place.

Campfire: Humanizing Higher Education

Campers met Zoom founder and CEO Eric Yuan and Zoom Chief Diversity Officer Damien Hooper-Campbell at the campfire for a special plenary session on Yuan's inspiration to start Zoom, how online teaching and classrooms are the future, mistakes he has learned from, and lots s'more.

July 22: Arts and Crafting Learning Experiences

Exploration of best practices in learning design for the lifelong learner.

Around the Flagpole: The What, Why, and How of Learner-Centered Everything

Campers enjoyed an enlightening panel discussion by leaders from Instructure, the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU and Michigan State University, who shared their thoughts on how to drive equal access for learners and customize the student experience.

Campfire: Launching the Learner Rocket Ship

Panelists from Sophya explained how their edtech tools can help students reach their learning goals in the current online learning setup, helping them connect with their educators and peers for fun, social, engaging learning.

July 23: (A)Synchronized Swimming

Discussions and demos around the digital campus — student success experiences and programs and products with direct applications for live and anytime learning.

Around the Flagpole: Rise of the Digital Campus

Campers joined executives at Slack and Deloitte around the flagpole as they answered: What is a digital campus and why is it important? The panelists also shared insights on what digital tools are needed to enable student success and how we can prepare for the future of work.

Campfire: Digital Education and Tribal Rights

This Campfire Teach-In featured esteemed panelists (and members of indigenous communities), who taught campers about #ConnectTribes. The campers learned about the importance of digital inclusivity for social justice with respect to tribal communities, as well as the role of education in the pursuit of social justice and how tribal rights come into play in the digital age.

Campfire Mixer: Learning(Hu)Man Concert

A legendary virtual concert with world-class musicians from around the country blew campers away with their authentic stories and moving artistry. 

July 24: Tech Hacks from the Toolshed

Hands-on workshops and upskilling experiences around emerging technologies.

Around the Flagpole: The Value of Connecting Education and the Workforce

Educators and industry leaders from AWS, Salesforce and Juniper gathered around the flagpole to answer thought-provoking questions about how colleges and universities can prepare students for thriving careers and lives and to discuss strategies for better aligning education and the workforce of the future. 

Campfire: Leadership, Culture and Value-Led Innovation

Campers met up with Christine Whitney Sanchez, chief culture officer at ASU's University Technology Office, and Tracey Zimmerman, president of Robots & Pencils, for key discussions around the values at the heart of collective changemaking efforts: equity and inclusion, leadership and student voice.

July 25 & 26: Nature Walks

Campers relived the magic of Learning(Hu)Man with rewatch parties and camp hikes in VirBELA, as well as went on a virtual ocean dive, trips to the LearningArtist arts and crafts hut, and lots more.

July 27: Kumbaya

After laughing, learning, dancing, and demoing together, campers met up for one last all-camp event to celebrate the experiences, actions, connections and fun of Learning(Hu)Man. 

Map of the future

In addition to looking back at memories of the week, camp art director Karina Branson (Conversketch) unveiled her artwork, titled “Our Learning(Hu)Man Map of the Future,” which reflects on the highlighted themes of summer camp while inspiring drivers, dreamers and doers of the power they have to accelerate change, empower learner success, and truly shape educational experiences of tomorrow. 

Learning(Hu)Man Map of the Future

Pocket rocks: Key Learning(Hu)Man takeaways

There are many ways for the campers to stay connected, reflect and continue their journey on the path of lifelong learning, including:

  • Watch session recordings that are continuously being added and available on the ShapingEDU YouTube channel.
  • Browse visual notes and graphic facilitation created by camp art director Branson and Learning(Hu)Man campers.  
  • Flip through the Learning(Hu)Man camp scrapbook, a reflection of campers’ favorite Learning(Hu)Man memories over the week.
  • Participate in the badge program and earn digital credentials for participation in ASU Learning(Hu)Man programming. Campers can still earn their credentials after camp is over, along with colleagues who weren’t able to attend camp, making the pocket rocks of Learning(Hu)Man accessible to all.

Additional resources are highlighted on the Learning(Hu)Man pocket rocks page.

Pocket Rocks (Lessons Learned) at Learning(Hu)Man

While the water has been poured on the fire for this year’s Learning(Hu)Man summer camp, engagement and learning and memories from Learning(Hu)Man burn bright.

Camp reflections

With just two months to plan, the camp team excelled at creating a camp experience in which campers could truly immerse themselves and unite. “We were becoming a community that was not only talking about learning, dreaming, and doing, we’re a community that’s now putting these efforts into a much larger social justice context,” said Paul Signorelli, camp counselor and storyteller in residence for ShapingEDU.

The memories gained, the friendships made, and lessons learned are too great to forget. “It was a hell of an idea on the back of a napkin,” said ASU Chief Information Officer Lev Gonick. “It was a lot of fun. I hope everybody met somebody new and walked away with new insights, new ideas and new friendships.”

Campers are encouraged to continue the conversation with their newfound friends from camp on the Learning(Hu)Man Slack channels throughout the year, providing a space for the education changemakers of tomorrow to come together to shape the future of learning in the digital age.

List of Learning(Hu)Man Co-Conveners

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