For our final week of Digital Technologies, we were learning about and exploring the use QR codes to enhance outdoor learning.
Outdoor learning is a vital part of the Curriculum for Excellence, which provides all educators and learners with different skills that may not be achieved within the classroom. Going outdoors may seem simple and non engaging, but its advantages it possesses are endless. Through further reading it was learned that: “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 and Teaching Scotland (2010)
“The core values of Curriculum for Excellence resonate with long-standing key 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)
The relevance and depth to the curriculum that outdoor learning provides includes:
Personal Development: Children can develop and begin learning skills in areas such as communication, problem solving, and working with others when outdoors and completing tasks together.
Inclusion for all: It can provide opportunities for children to use a range of skills and abilities not always visible in the classroom.
Critical Thinking Skills: Outdoor learning can help children to make links between other curricular areas which may not have been clear when indoors, such as:
Encouraging and capitalising on the potential to experience learning and new challenges in the outdoor environment.
As children and young people progress in their learning of the sciences, teachers can take advantage of opportunities for study in the local, natural and built environments.
Not only does this link to other curricular areas, but also links in with the SHANARRI Wellbeing Wheel which is a vital part of the Curriculum for Excellence and with regards to the wellbeing of all children within it.
In today’s session, we were able to explore the PicCollage App on the iPad. By using this App, it allowed us to use our creativity skills to create a collage of photographs from today’s outdoor session. We then were introduced to Quick Response (QR) Codes. QR Codes can link to a short bit of text, an audio recording, a website, a phone number, an email address, a map location, an calendar event. This linked to our outdoor session as we were to work in groups to crack the code given by the QR codes, which were located clues hidden outside the university. We collected one letter from each location if we answered the question correctly then used the six letters to discover the secret code. The questions were based around the social studies topic of ‘Scotland’. The questions consisted of common knowledge about Scotland, for example its population or number of islands it has. This as an educator is an excellent way to engage pupils with a new topic and fin out information they perhaps did not know before taking part in the outdoor learning task. It also makes it exciting and fun, rather than going on the internet and researching for hours about Scottish facts.
Throughout the activity we were able to capture photographs from the camera roll to summarise our learning experience in a new and modernised way by adding them to PicCollage. As an educator, I think this is a well structured idea of allowing children to explore and play around with a new App on the iPad, developing their media and digital technology skills. In addition, this adds to their development of creativity skills and being able to demonstrate their work in a collage of images that tell a story of what their learning consisted of.
I thoroughly enjoyed this task and I will definitely be using QR codes and PicCollage within future lesson plans for introducing new and exciting topics. It can adapt to any learning experience and the use of QR codes is endless. It is such a useful resource and I am very gad we were introduced to it at an early stage in my teaching career, as I had seen them before whether it be for tickets to concerts or advertisements for restaurants, but never did I believe I could use it to portray a lesson in a classroom situation.
Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.
Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.