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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Three Apps to Incorporate Into Outdoor Learning Activities

One of my passions is encouraging teachers to take their students outside for class. The technology that our students use the most in their daily lives is meant to be mobile so don't keep it locked up in your classroom. Tomorrow, I am giving a presentation about this topic at the ESC 20 Library Resource Roundup. Three of the apps that I will be demonstrating during this presentation are the Google Science Journal, Nature Cat's Great Outdoors, and the Geocaching app from Groundspeak.

Google's Science Journal app provides some neat tools for recording data and writing observations. Within the app students create notebooks for recording experiment data and observations. Students can also use those notebooks to simply organize observations by topic. There are sensors built into the app for recording sound, speed, light, direction, and magnetism. Learn more about the app here. You can download the Android version here and the iOS version here.

Nature Cat's Great Outdoors is a free app from PBS Kids. The app, available for iOS and Android, provides students with activities they can do outdoors in all kinds of weather. To use the Nature Cat's Great Outdoors app students simply open it, press play, and select a "daily nature adventure." There are adventures for sunny days, rainy days, and snowy days. An example of a rainy day adventure is recording the sounds of rain drops and the sounds of splashing in puddles. The app has more than 100 adventure suggestions built into it. Students earn digital badges for completing adventures.

Geocaching is a fun activity for students to do to learn about latitude and longitude, to discover geological features, learn or relearn basic math concepts, and to practice good digital citizenship. Seven years ago Jen Lefebvre, née Deyenberg wrote a great overview of geocaching in an education context. You can read that blog post here. When Jen wrote that post you had to use handheld GPS units to go on geocaching activities. Today, you can simply use the Geocaching Android app or iOS apps.

Learn more about this topic in my on-demand webinar, 5 Ways to Blend Technology Into Outdoor Lessons.