“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.) Children retaining information by remembering a fun, engaging lesson is one of the main reasons I have found digital technologies to be such a useful tool for teachers today. Digital technology when used correctly often allows children to immerse themselves into an enjoyable learning experience which is far more likely to stay with them as it has engaged them and they have had fun throughout the process and so the thought of combining both the excitement of learning outdoors with the opportunities digital technology brings, I was looking forward to this lesson.
During this lesson we particularly focused on the use of QR codes in outdoor learning whilst the PicCollage app was also used to further enhance this lesson so we could document our journey. In order to introduce us to the way in which QR codes could be used both educationally through a median of fun a QR code hunt had been set up for our class in the university grounds. We gathered ourselves into teams each with two iPads, one to scan the QR codes which would reveal a question we were to answer before finding the next clue and the other to take pictures along the way to document our hunt. Before starting our hunt we were given some time to familiarise ourselves with the PicCollage app by taking various pictures to summarise an aspect of university life. The app itself is simple and easy to use, with many options available to create a unique collage including altering pictures, changing background styles, adding text and cartoon images.
Once we had created our collage we were ready to go on our hunt. We discussed the importance of talking through the rules and boundaries and reasons for these with children whilst still inside the classroom to ensure you have their full attention, everyone knows the rules, what areas to stay within and therefore are safe when outside the classroom. We all ran around the university grounds searching for various QR codes alongside a picture of where our next clue could be found. Once we used the iPad to scan the QR code a question popped up on the screen of our iPad with two possible answers. Next to the each answer was a letter, after we had found all six hidden QR codes we could have an anagram of six scrambled letters which we had to solve. From the perspective of a learner, being part of a group of students ranging from 18-40 there was so much excitement, fun and enjoyment, as well as a lot of competitiveness to get back first and so I find it exciting thinking about one day running a similar activity with a class .“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.). This activity integrates so many and if done well, all, of the core values of the Curriculum for Excellence as well as so many more important skills and values including team work, communication and allowing children to explore, play and be adventurous in the outdoors.
The questions created could be about any topic, the children could run around searching for QR codes which then asked a mathematics question, or questions relating to a topic they’re studying. The opportunities are endless.
- Opportunities to carry out different activities and roles in a variety of settings have enabled me to identify my achievements, skills and areas for development. This will help me to prepare for the next stage in my life and learning.- HWB 2-19a
- Within and beyond my place of learning I am enjoying daily opportunities to participate in physical activities and sport, making use of available indoor and outdoor space. –HWB 1-25
- “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
(Scottish Government, 2008).
I have chosen outcomes from various levels to show that this activity can be used with a wide range of children (and adults!). Depending on the topic chosen for the questions, whether the children work alone or in groups, the way in which children have to make their way to the clues (run, hop, skip, jump) many more experiences and outcomes across various areas for the curriculum could also be covered during a similar activity.
Upon returning from our hunt we were given the opportunity to create our own QR codes using the QR reader app. This could be on any topic we wanted and use any format we found in the app. I created an Olympic hunt based upon a possible topic classroom topic. I had initially hoped for one of the clues to pop up a video of ice hockey on the children’s iPad and subsequently a question would pop up asking which team are the current Olympic Champions at this sport. However, I found that I could not do both a video and a question using the same QR code which is an extra feature I think could add further depth to this activity. However, after discussing this with Graham he suggested that it was possible to have one QR code as a video and the next asking questions about the video and so a similar objective was still achieved but in a slightly different way. Below are the QR codes I generated using my questions based on the Olympics. There is also a question sheet which the children would have to fill in and similar to the hunt we went on the letters next to each answer would form an anagram they would have to solve at the end of the quiz.
During this lesson I found it interesting how many different aspects of not only the Curriculum for Excellence but also GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child) outdoor learning covers. very much at the centre of GIRFEC is the SHANARRI wheel, featuring eight well-being indicators; Safe, Healthy, Active, Nurture, Achieving, Responsible, Respect and Included (Scottish Government, 2012.). In pairs, we chose one of the eight well-being indicators and discussed how we thought outdoor learning achieved this indicator. During our discussion we chose to focus on respect. As a teacher you are giving children the respect as you trust that they can go outside and follow your rules to remain safe. By showing the children this respect by trusting them this is also allowing the children to be responsible whilst feeling safe and so covers more than one of the well-being indicators. Some of the other ideas from around the classroom included respect for their teacher, the environment and the people around them as well as being active and healthy.
I really enjoyed todays lesson. I think children should be encouraged to learn through adventure and playing outside where possible. Children being active and ‘getting some fresh air’ is vital for not only their own health and wellbeing but also, many of my most vivid memories from my own childhood are playing and having adventures outside and so I would love to bring similar, life-long experiences to children in the future. Living in Scotland the weather is not always predictable however so long as the weather is safe clothes can be dried and clothing can be changed. In Scotland, especially in Ayrshire we are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful place with so many beaches and open green spaces that children should be given opportunities to take advantage of all of this outdoor space to play and learn. The apps we were introduced to today we both simple to use and created a wonderful learning experience which hopefully children would enjoy and remember.
Today was our final lesson in our Digital Technologies module. I have thoroughly enjoyed this module and my confidence in using Digital Technologies had gone from strength to strength each week during this semester. During our very first dt (digital technologies lesson) we filled out a form assessing our own confidences and abilities in various dt areas. Prior to this course, with exception of the ipad, most of my initial markings were either at 1 or 0 (Not very confident/ not much prior knowledge). However, since finishing the course all of these areas have improved and I rated myself either 4 or 5 in each area, which can be seen by the markings near the outside of the circle.
I now feel so much more confident about using dt both inside an outside of the classroom. I have loved discovering new, innovative and engaging ways in which digital technologies can be used, in particular the inter-dsicplinary learning opportunities they can provide and I look forward to finding ways of integrating digital technologies into my own lesson planning order to enhance my lessons and make them experiences to remember.
I am excited to take everything I have learned forward into my teaching career and build upon some incredible ideas which we have been provided with, created and discussed during this module. I will continue to research digital technology in the classroom and follow which games become popular, such as minecraft, and think how I could create learning opportunities or use these games as a stimulus for learning.
Education Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.
Learning and Teaching Scotland (2010) Curriculum for Excellence Through Outdoor Learning.
Pixabay.com. (2018). Free Images – Pixabay. [Online] Available at: https://pixabay.com [Accessed: 29 Mar. 2018].
Scottish Government (2008) The Curriculum for Excellence [Online] Available at: http://www.education.gov.scot/Documents/all-experiences-and-outcomes.pdf [Accessed: 22 March 2018].
Scottish Government (2012) A Guide to Getting it Right for Every Child [Online] http://www.gov.scot/resource/0042/00423979.pdf [Accessed: 24 March 2018]
SHANARRI Wheel image taken from: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0043/00438639.jpg