Today was our last class for this module and I had been speaking to others about my growing anticipation to find a connection between digital technologies and outdoor learning. When I was at school, there was never any digital technology involved in outdoor play, just simply a pair of wellies and some waterproof clothes.
I was very excited to know what the learning intentions would be for the day and this is when we were introduced to ‘Quick Response Codes’ (QR Codes). A QR code is a type of bar code that is made up of black modules on a white background, unlike a normal barcode that has 20 alphanumeric character limit, a QR code can hold thousands of characters. QR codes were created in 1994 and are used mainly on smartphones and tablets however you may see them on signs, business cards and when sharing multimedia content such as an ebook (techopedia) and by downloading a QR reader App will allow you to scan any QR codes.
The QR codes that we used today were set up in the style of a treasure hunt and this is when I had the chance to see the connections between digital technology and outdoor learning. Our lecturer had placed many QR codes around the gardens of the university campus, we then had to seek out and scan each QR code using our mobile devices, which were iPads. Each QR code held a question with a multiple choice answer, when all the questions were answered correctly there was a jumbled up word to guess, then lastly we had to scan the final QR code and the team first to complete this were the winners. When we met back at the classroom, we created a ‘Pic Collage’ on an iPad, which was fairly simple and would be great tool for children in a classroom as the app allows for creativity and design.
Being outside was brilliant and memorable which the Scottish Government believe is part of the outdoor learning experience. I myself certainly remember my own childhood school trips and outings, as they were so much fun. I can only imagine how excited primary school children would be if they had the same oppertunity.
As a student teacher, it is important for me to experience as many different approaches to teaching as I can, as not all children will and can learn in a set typical environment. In order for this to happen we had an in-depth class discussion about ‘GIRFEC’ (Getting it right for every child). GIRFEC is a policy that is used in Scotland to ensure the wellbeing of our children and by using this we can put the differentiated needs of children and young people first (Scottish Government). GIRFEC is broken down into 8 areas of the SHANARRI Wellbeing Wheel which we related today to outdoor learning:
- Active – Getting outside and exercising.
- Respected – Looking after the environment.
- Responsible – Behaving in different surroundings.
- Included – Opportunities for children to shine.
- Safe – Developing risk management skills.
- Healthy – Promotes a healthy lifestyle.
- Achieving – Personal development such as problem solving.
- Nurtured – Building positive relationships.
I had my own oppertunity to create a lesson using the iPad and QR codes. The lesson was based on modern languages and for this I created a Spanish quiz. The quiz worked very similar to the treasure hunt and I can clearly see how easily adaptable lessons like these can be. While planning my lesson, I was aware of advice from my lecturer to ‘bundle’ CFE experiences and outcomes. I found that with activities like this bundling was happening by it’s self as ‘Digital Technology’ has so many positive outcomes, such as health and wellbeing, technology, numeracy and literacy etc.
Below are the areas of the CFE I have chosen for my lesson:
MLAN 2-11c I experiment with new language, working out the meaning of words and phrases using vocabulary I have learned so far.
TCH 2-04a I explore and experiment with the features and functions of computer technology and I can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts.
HWB 2-11a I make full use of and value the opportunities I am given to improve and manage my learning, in turn, I can help to encourage learning and confidence in others.
As you can see there is a wide range of experiences and outcomes, this has been the case throughout the digital technology module.
I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, that today was our last class, so I would like to conclude that I am so grateful for what this module has taught me. It has really opened my eyes to the world of technology and it’s many uses within education.
During this module, our class had opportunities to work in groups, this has meant that we have been communicating and collaborating throughout the module. Having the oppertunity to experience this, has helped us to understand what it may feel like, feelings such as confidence barriers and communication difficulties that some children may experience.
Our class lecturer has repeatedly explained to us how important it is to make things relevant, as it captures and holds a learners attention. I have experienced this for myself during my short time at university and college last year and I will ensure that relevance is something that I will take with me into the classroom as a future teacher.
The module has been so beneficial to me as my confidence in technology has increased, I know this because of the questionnaire I completed at the beginning and at the end of the module. This has shown a great increase in my confidence and knowledge. I will most definitely be getting involved with technologies in the future, my aim is to continue to build on my knowledge and also my confidence, this will benefit me as a student and as a teacher.
- Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence [Online] http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [Accessed 27th March 2018].
- Scottish Government (2010) The Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning [Online] https://education.gov.scot/Documents/cfe-through-outdoor-learning.pdf [Accessed 27th March 2018].
- Scottish Government (2017) What is GIRFEC? [Online] http://www.gov.scot/Topics/People/Young-People/gettingitright/what-is-girfec [Accessed 27th March 2018].
- Techopedia [Online] https://www.techopedia.com/definition/2915/quick-response-code-qr-code [Accessed 27th March 2018].