In my experience, a lot of learning happens at the YMCA, in Boy Scout, and Girl Guide organizations. Furthermore, many of those learning experiences stick with kids in the long term because they were designed with fun in mind. I couldn't tell you what happened in any of my math classes when I was twelve, but I certainly remember building a bridge over a stream near Waterford the same year, and the importance of triangles for structural integrity.
It seems to me that there would be room in this conference for something of this nature. Perhaps there is an opportunity to commandeer some of our learning modules on WE and apply them to youth organizations. I have already taken materials developed by my students for classroom use and applied them to the merit badge (actually belt loop) program in the cub scouts.
All the best and good luck with the conference (PS I don't get LQ notifications, so if this message needs a response please direct it to my talk page). dmccabe 14:43, 17 February 2009 (UTC)
My experience with youth in learning environments outside of the formal school classroom is similar to Declan's. The participants are often highly engaged and the learning is more often internalized. I agree that part of the reason may be the built-in fun (one of the boy scout program themes here in the US is "fun with a purpose"), but I think the bigger reason for the participants' engagement may be that they have clearly chosen to participate (the learning is self-directed) and in many cases the experiences happen in an environment that is more forgiving of different learning styles. The learning that takes place is student- (learner-) centric.
Although I do agree that WE modules would be useful in the kinds of youth organizations that Declan mentions, I believe that the open, adaptive WE content currently in development may be the impetus for self-directed student-centric learning to become a reality in many more situations.