We had a gorgeous summer weekend complete with an excursion to pick wild strawberries. It was while picking strawberries with my daughters that I got the inspiration for the topic of this week’s newsletter.
Next week I’ll get back my more normal “tips and tricks” topics but it’s summer (in the northern hemisphere) so I hope a little diversion from the usual course is okay. Until next week, here are a few ways to use technology as a part of or to plan an outdoor learning activity.
Identifying Plants & Birds
My daughters have reached the age of asking me to identify every kind of bird and plant they find. They’re also at the age of thinking that Dad knows the answer to everything (I’m going to miss that when they get to middle school). There are two apps on my phone that I use to help me identify plants and birds on our walks. Those apps are iNaturalist app and the Audubon Bird Guide app.
The Audubon Bird Guide app helps you identify birds you have seen by walking you through a series of menus to narrow down the possibilities. It starts with location and time of year before asking you to answer a few more questions that ultimately end with just a few possible representatives of what you saw.
The iNaturalist app doesn’t have quite the same level of guidance as the Audubon app, but it is still helpful in providing representations of plants, birds, and animals observed near your location.
And if you’re looking for a project for your students in the fall, take a look at Project Noah. Project Noah is a globally collaborative project to which anyone can contribute. There is a section of the site called Missions. These are projects that ask people to make contributions of images and observations about a specific animal, plant, or region. There is a set of missions designed for classrooms.
Create an AR or QR Scavenger Hunt
Want to make your own educational augmented reality game? Perhaps an educational version of Pokemon Go? If so, you can do that with Metaverse Studio. A few summers ago I used Metaverse Studio to make an augmented reality history game called “What Was There?” The app contained pictures and videos overlaid on local history landmarks. You can read more about it here.
Making an augmented reality game take quite a while. A slightly lower tech version of an AR game is a QR code scavenger hunt. Russel Tarr at ClassTools.net has a handy template you can use to make your own QR code scavenger hunt.
Plan a Safe Walking or Biking Route
Google Maps includes a handy little function to choose bicycling and walking routes instead of driving directions. In the web version of Google Maps there is even an option to show paved vs. unpaved paths. And in Google’s My Maps (available through Google Drive) you can create a custom walking or biking route to share with other people. Here’s a short video on how to do that.
Two PD Opportunities in July
In July I’ll be hosting Teaching History With Technology. This is a five part course designed to help you develop new ways to create engaging history lessons and projects. Register now and use the discount code THWT2020.