Program Overview

Ride To Learn features educational resources for young people on the topics of global citizenship, cultural diversity, environmental sustainability, and the origin of everyday things. The program follows a 30,000-kilometre circumnavigation of the world by bicycle, enabling participants to engage with the stories of a global network of contributing partners—including farmers, designers, artisans, and factory workers—who are involved in the production of everyday items: footwear, clothing, and bicycles. Young people are intimately familiar with what they wear on their backs and feet. Such objects are thus an accessible and engaging point of inquiry into the environmental and social impacts of production. Ride To Learn invites students to brainstorm solutions to global challenges such as resource depletion, water shortage, and the ethical treatment of people and animals.

The teacher resource activities are divided into seven units, one for each of the seven continents the cyclists explore.

The seven units are as follows

  1. Europe: Shoes and sustainability
  2. Asia: T-shirts and human impact
  3. Australia: T-shirts and animal impact
  4. Africa: T-shirts and environmental impact
  5. North America: Bicycles and how they are made
  6. South America: Bicycles and sustainability
  7. Antarctica: Looking at the big picture

Each unit includes the following elements

  • Content fact sheets presenting relevant geography, history, and other information specific to thematic foci;
  • Multimedia related to the particulars of each everyday item (T-shirts, shoes, bicycles);
    Solution-focussed activities (artistic, analytical);
  • Opportunities to collaborate in the virtual classroom with a global community;
  • Diverse activities, appropriate for individuals and groups, that engage a range of learner types;
  • Discussion questions to foster critical and creative-thinking skills;
  • Short activities and games;
  • Further related resources.

Usage of unit material

The modules are free and may be reproduced for educational purposes only. Using these resources for non-educational purposes, or for financial profit, is strictly prohibited. Contact us if you have questions about your intended usage.

Ride To Learn and the Adventure Learning Pedagogy

ISMOTION’s To Learn series is an adventure learning (AL) initiative designed to inspire real-world engagement and a passion for learning in young people. The inaugural To Learn education program, Ride To Learn, is a recognized activity of the United Nations’ Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005- 2014), and supports the achievement of curriculum learning objectives in the context of exploring real-life challenges facing communities around the globe. The program, which is meant to supplement rather than replace the curriculum, features a multimedia online learning environment accessible to learners in areas with Internet connections. Participants in the online learning environment will have access to interactive learning experiences uniquely enabled by the AL model.

The To Learn series is based on the AL approach, an educational framework the success of which has been well-documented in the last decade, and the appeal of which continues to grow as requisite technologies become more readily available in classrooms worldwide. Adventure Learning “provides learners with opportunities to explore real-world issues through authentic learning experiences within collaborative online learning environments” (Doering, 2006). The framework defines authentic learning as open-ended, entailing a level and quality of risk characteristic of real-world decision-making. The approach draws an implicit analogy between the practical adventure of explorers in the field and the authentic learning process—the outcomes of both of which are determined by the quality of relevant decisions. Studies on the efficacy of AL indicate that teachers and students alike report higher levels of interest, satisfaction, and motivation concurrent with their engagement in such programs (Doering, Scharber, Riedel & Miller, 2010).

A second key emphasis in the AL approach is collaborative creativity. Here, too, recent research suggests that online learning environments facilitate more frequent and creative interactions between participants (Doering, Miller & Veletsianos, 2008). This phenomenon has been accounted for in at least two ways. First, participants find real-life adventurers (and associated characters) highly relatable, and are excited about opportunities to communicate with them directly online (Doering et. al, 2010). Second, online learning environments optimize students’ excitement about what is happening in the field by providing them with multiple forums for

interacting with others and for expressing themselves creatively. Participants’ investment in real people involved in a narrative of consequence and possibility makes it easier for them to make connections between curriculum objectives, the adventure at hand, and the wider world. In addition to enabling more energetic interactions between learners within the classroom, the Ride To Learn AL program affords participants the opportunity to share and strategize online with students, educators, and experts worldwide.

Concern for the wider world is another pillar of the To Learn series. Ride To Learn, with the World By Cycle expedition, is greatly inspired by the Institute for Humane Education (IHE), the mandate of which is to align the core competencies of education with the broader humane objectives of promoting compassion, wisdom, and integrity. The IHE supports education programs that explore global issues related to cultural diversity, human and animal rights, and environmental protection and sustainability. An official partner of the World By Cycle expedition, the IHE will continue to mentor ISMOTION’s education team by sharing best practices on how to prepare material that inspires students to take greater responsibility for their own learning and for the global community.

The central humane theme of Ride To Learn’s AL curriculum, which serves also as a point of focus for the expedition, is “the story of stuff.” The curriculum’s educational value inheres in its ability to inspire participants’ curiosity about the origins of everyday items they might otherwise take for granted—and the social and environmental impacts of these origins. Each of the curriculum’s seven thematic units attends to a unique back story related to production in a particular geographical region. The story of footwear, for example, is explored in Europe with the help of visits by Kristina and Nic to various fashion hotspots, an independent fashion label, and supply chain experts. In Asia the adventurers share the story of alternatives to cotton in clothing via interviews with children and families involved in the silk industry in Uzbekistan, Bio Cotton in Kyrgyzstan, and by taking an inside look at bamboo and hemp fields and processing plants in China. In Australia the cyclists will lead an investigation into the way people and livestock are treated in the process of supplying wool and bamboo to leading manufacturers. In Central and South America, the investigative emphasis will shift to environmental conservation models in several manufacturing industries. The adventure in the Caribbean will inquire into the connection between people’s purchasing decisions and the wider culture as both relate to climate change.

Each of the thematic units will encourage students to ask questions and think critically about the story in question. Far from presenting facts to be memorized or values to be reified, Ride To Learn encourages participants to identify and acquire knowledge they deem relevant to the task of addressing the challenges they encounter in each unit. Ride To Learn’s online platform, supported by the Learning Technology Media Lab and TakingITGlobal, facilitates students’ learning by hosting interactive maps, discussion forums, blogs and podcasts, as well as daily adventurer diaries, monthly webisodes, and related lesson plans, web links, games, and activities—resources for use both in and beyond the classroom. Students will have the opportunity to participate in solution-focused brainstorming; to do research and take initiative in their own communities; and to collaborate with students near and far on issues of shared concern. The program’s production team will work closely with the education team to deliver material that is engaging, thought-provoking, learner-driven, and humanely actionable.

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