In our final week in Digital Technologies, we looked at using QR codes to enhance outdoor learning. Outdoor learning was something that I experienced at school without the technology aspect of learning, so I was looking forward to experience the outdoors and combine it with technology.
“Outdoor learning experiences are often remembered for a lifetime. Integrating learning and outdoor experiences, whether through play in the immediate grounds or adventures further afield, provides relevance and depth to the curriculum in ways that are difficult to achieve indoors” (Learning & Teaching Scotland,2010). If children are enjoying a lesson, they are more likely to remember it and retain the information they learned. This is one of the reasons I think Digital Technology is a useful resource for teachers. It is an enjoyable experience not only for children but for the teachers too.
In conjunction with exploring the QR reader, we also looked at an application called Pic Collage. To become familiar with the app, we created a collage of our life here at UWS before we started the task. Our task today was to crack the QR code by using the QR Reader on the iPad and find all the QR codes outside. Each QR code asked us a question and gave us a letter for each answer. From this, we had to figure out the secret word and scan the QR to confirm we were right. QR stands for quick response and is based on an image-based hyperlink. A QR code can store 7089 numbers in comparison with a standard barcode that can only hold up to 30 numbers. A QR code can also link to a short bit of text, an audio recording, a website, a phone number, an email address, a map location, an calendar event. We then had to create a collage based on our outdoor learning task using Pic Collage. I thought this was a great task. It is fun and exciting for children and allows them to experience the outdoors and their surroundings. Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) suggest that “it’s clear that the outdoor environment offers motivating, exciting, different, relevant and easily accessible activities from pre-school years through to college.” There are many advantages of outdoor learning. It can help develop their critical thinking skills as it can help children to make links with other curricular areas. It enhances their personal development such as their problem solving skills, communication with each other and working with others. In addition to this, it can also promote a healthy lifestyle which can then lead to a life long recreation such as hill walking, cycling, and swimming. Personal safety is another advantage of outdoor learning as it can provide opportunities for children to develop skills to assess and manage the risks that outdoor learning can impose. One of the biggest advantages for me is that outdoor learning includes everyone. It can provide opportunities for children to use a wide range of skills and abilities that are not always visible in the classroom. This in turn can increase individual’s self-worth and change the way other children perceive them. Children are always exploring the outdoors and Beauchamp (2012) states that “children are citizens of their localities, making contributions to the communities whether playing sport, interacting with others or simply hanging out with friends”. Outdoor learning helps children to interact and communicate with others. This is a valuable skill they use in life. The 7 Principles of Design in the Curriculum for Excellence resonates with the essential concepts of outdoor learning. “Challenge, enjoyment, relevance, depth, development of the whole person and an adventurous approach to learning are at the core of outdoor pedagogy” (Education Scotland, 2010).
Throughout this lesson, I thought it was quite interesting how many aspects of the GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child) was covered by outdoor learning. The SHANNARI Wheel demonstrates eight Health & Wellbeing indicators for children; Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included. It also links in with the four capacities in the Curriculum for Excellence ; Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors, and Responsible Citizens. In pairs, we had to pick one of these indicators and discuss our thoughts on how outdoor learning can achieve these indicators. We picked respect as it is important that children learn to respect the environment and not pick any living flowers or leaves from trees, keeping quiet in certain areas, and not littering. Respect also occurs between the pupil and the teacher. For example, if the teacher explains to a child not to do something and gives a good reasons to stay safe, the pupil then respects the rules the teacher has set. By following the rules the teacher has set the children are safe and become responsible for their own actions. All of these indicators can be achieved by outdoor learning and it is vital the children have the opportunity to experience it.
Experience & Outcomes from Outdoor Learning:
“I am learning to assess and manage risk, to protect myself and others, and to reduce the potential for harm when possible.” HWB 0-16a / HWB 1-16a / HWB 2-16a
“Through taking part in a variety of events and activities, I am learning to recognise my own skills and abilities as well as those of others.” HWB 1-19a
“I can explore and experiment with digital technologies and can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts.” TCH 1-01a
In conclusion, I think it is vital that children experience outdoor learning. After experiencing today’s lesson, outdoor learning is definitely an enjoyable and memorable way of learning. As a teacher, you want the children to remember and take lots of experiences from your lesson. They also gain many valuable skills such as communication, critical thinking skills, problem solving skills and this helps them grow as an individual. Outdoor learning also covers many cross- curricular areas. By using the QR reader, many quizzes can be created and can be tailored to suit the topic that is being covered. This application gives teachers flexibility as it can be adapted to any age. The SHANNARI Wheel is also an important aspect to follow as many of them can be covered by outdoor learning. It can build up their personal development and also promotes a healthy lifestyle.. These skills will be carried throughout their lifetime.
Throughout this module, I feel that my confidence has grown week by week. Some areas of Digital Technologies I have experienced before and had a sound knowledge of. However, there are many areas that I had never came across before such as Minecraft and Scratch Jr, but now I feel I could use them in the classroom. Digital Technologies has opened up my mind to various lesson planning ideas in the classroom and the links to the Curriculum for Excellence for those lessons. I have learned a lot about using technology in the classroom and the benefits it can have for children. With technology growing in today’s society, it is important as a teacher that we keep up with it and embed it within children’s learning so that they are picking up essential skills such as problem solving, critical thinking skills and communication skills. I can see how teachers would be afraid of using technology in the classroom, however it is vital that they have the support within the curriculum to gain that confidence to teach it in schools. I looked back to my Success Wheel from the first session in comparison to the last session, to reflect on my confidence and knowledge on various areas of digital technology. I feel that my knowledge has increased in technology and have learned new things that can be used in the classroom. My confidence has grown and in my future career as a teacher digital technology is something that I will definitely use in my classroom.
Beauchamp, G. (2012) ICT in the Primary School: From Pedagogy to Practice. Pearson Education Limited.
Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning. [Online] Available: http://moodle.uws.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/105271/mod_resource/content/3/cfeoutdoorlearningfinal_tcm4-596061%20copy.pdf [Accessed: 27th March 2018]
Education Scotland (2016) Curriculum for Excellence: Technologies Experiences and Outcomes. [Online] Available: https://education.gov.scot/Documents/Technologies-es-os.pdf [Accessed: 27th March 2018]
Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning. [Online] Available:https://education.gov.scot/Documents/cfe-through-outdoor-learning.pdf [Accessed: 27th March 2018]
Scottish Government (2010) [Online] Available: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0043/00438639.jpg [Accessed: 27th March 2018]