Raised on a farm in southern Minnesota, Doering’s early ties to the land fueled a lifelong passion for the environment and for education. He studied geography and worked as a middle school teacher prior to obtaining his PhD in Learning Technologies, and from there moved on to teach, design online learning experiences, and conduct research at the postsecondary level. Doering has shared that he believes our personal actions have a huge impact on our environment and that we need to be cognizant of how we're all interconnected. His design and research projects, teaching, and expedition work all speak to these concepts.
Doering has delivered free online education programs with a focus on STEM, geography and GIS, climate change, and global cultures to millions of students worldwide through adventure learning programs such as the Changing Earth (begun in 2016 and ongoing), Arctic Transect 2004, the GoNorth! Adventure Learning Series (2006-2010), Earthducation (2010-2014), and North of Sixty° (2013).
The Changing Earth is a four-year adventure learning program that seeks to inspire local solutions to global challenges, and kids worldwide to #choose2care about their environment, culture, and community. Led by Doering, a small team of explorers is tackling unbeaten paths across vast wilderness areas in the Arctic and Tropics while documenting stories of how individuals and communities are finding strength and purpose in an increasingly fragile, interconnected, and stressed world. The Changing Earth offers a free standards-based curriculum, along with project- and inquiry-based tools for teachers and learners worldwide. Activities are focused on science, technology, geography, and culture. The mission of the Changing Earth is to help create an environmentally literate and socially engaged generation of learners able to blend traditional and 21st century scientific and cultural knowledge to generate innovative solutions to sustain the Earth and its diverse inhabitants into the unforeseeable future.
Doering has a particularly long and rich connection to the Arctic. He has completed education-related dogsledding and pulking expeditions throughout the region at least annually since 2004. These expeditions have taken him across many regions of the circumpolar Arctic, including the Northwest Territories and Nunavut in Canada; Fennoscandia; Greenland; Chukotka in Russia; and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, USA.
In addition to expeditions in the Arctic, Doering has traveled to climate hotspots around the globe as part of the Earthducation project. Earthducation is centered on studying intersections between education and sustainability by working together with individuals, communities, and organizations worldwide to create an ecological narrative of educational beliefs. To date, Doering and the Earthducation team have traveled to Burkina Faso, Africa (2011); northern Norway in Europe (2011); Australia (2012); Peru and Chile in South America (2012); Alaska, USA, and the Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada, in North America (2013); and Nepal, Asia (2014). The final Earthducation expedition will take the team to Antarctica.
Adventure learning (AL) is a hybrid distance education approach defined by Doering in 2006. AL provides students with opportunities to explore real-world issues through authentic learning experiences within collaborative online learning environments, and is anchored in experiential and inquiry-based learning. It includes educational activities that work in conjunction with the authentic experiences of researchers in the field. For example, within an AL program, the curriculum, the experiences and observations of the researchers, and the online collaboration and interaction opportunities for participating learners are delivered synchronously so that learners are able to make connections between what is happening in the real world and their studies, and then reflect on those events and present potential solutions to issues that are raised.
Doering’s academic writing focuses on how adventure learning impacts the classroom experience; on designing and developing online learning environments; on the use of GIS in the K12 classroom; and on K-12 technology integration. He's published over 80 journal articles, book chapters, and conference proceedings, and is co-author of the bestselling textbook Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, and co-editor of The New Landscape of Mobile Learning: Redesigning Education in an App-based World.
Along with the Changing Earth, other projects that Doering is currently leading include EarthXplorers, AgCultures, WeExplore, North of Sixty°, and GeoThentic.
EarthXplorers offers a geographical adventure as students tackle modern-day challenges centered on national sites of great historical significance. It is a free online learning program for middle and high school students in which learners explore historical sites around the nation while engaging in field-based activities, data collection, analysis, spatial visualization, and storytelling. EarthXplorers integrates ArcGIS and builds geographical inquiry skills using a blend of engaging content and online technologies.
AgCultures is a new adventure learning program launching in 2017 that centers on agriculture and food science. The AgCultures team will travel the world capturing extraordinary stories about the future of agriculture from scientists, farmers, and technological innovators around the globe. Teachers will have access to a free online STEM curriculum tied to issues the team is exploring. Students worldwide will be able to share their own story as they work online alongside these innovators investigating and helping solve the world’s food puzzles.
WeExplore is an online collaboration and storytelling tool that encourages learners to become explorers and to share their explorations with the world through a socially networked and user-driven adventure learning environment. North of Sixty° is another user-driven adventure learning environment that is generating a global tapestry of climate stories, weaving together the history and culture of Arctic communities worldwide and preserving the voices and ecological knowledge of generations. GeoThentic is an online scaffolded learning environment that helps teachers integrate geospatial technologies in the K-12 classroom for learning geography.
In 2010, Doering and two of his colleagues at the University of Minnesota, Charles Miller and Cassandra Scharber, founded the Learning Technologies Media Lab, with the support of the College of Education and Human Development. The mission of LTML is to create and inspire opportunities for global collaboration in addressing humanity's most pressing educational, social, and environmental issues by designing and evaluating innovative technology-mediated solutions for learners, educators, researchers, and organizations.Fellow, Royal Canadian Geographical Society
Bonnie Westby-Huebner Endowed Chair of Education and Technology, University of Minnesota.
Tech Laureate of the Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefitting Humanity, San Jose, California.
Institute on the Environment Fellow, University of Minnesota.
TEDx Speaker, 2012.
Marty and Jack Rossmann Award, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota.
Community and Outreach Engagement Faculty Award, College of Education and Human Development. University of Minnesota.