How often do we hear parents complain that all their children do is stay inside and play video games, or interacting on social networks? Or hear how students complain about having to shut down and go in slow motion at school because they are use to moving at a faster pace and multi tasking because of the technology they have grown up on but are not able to use in school? Geocaching is a way for teachers to combine the great outdoors, with technology; and it is easier to do today than it was just a few years ago. In the past you had to buy special equipment to Geocache, but today there are often multiple GSP units hidden in students book bags or lockers in the form of their smart phone. Rather than forcing students to keep these technology tools locked up and turned off, we should be encouraging them to use them, and use them correctly.
What exactly is Geocaching? It is a high-tech treasure hunt. Items are hidden at specific GPS coordinates. Normally these treasures consist of a small container that contains a logbook and small ‘swag’ items. The object is to locate the container, sign the logbook, and if you take one of the swag items, leave another one of similar value. The ‘swag’ items are not the real prize but the finding of the geocache is the real prize.
Teachers can use GPS technology to integrate it into a fun outdoor activity. These lessons do not need be restricted to geography teachers, but can be integrated into any subject. Below are several links to GSP lesson plans:
GPS Activities & Lesson Plans
GPS Lesson Plans
PAECT – GPS Activities & Lesson Plans
Hopefully being exposed to this high tech treasure hunt in lesson plans, including GPS activities; students will take it on themselves to do some hunts on their own. Geocaching.com is the official site where users can find locations to caches all over the world. There are over 3000 geocaches listed on the site within a 25-mile radius of downtown Cincinnati. By playing the game, the technology leads players to places exposing them to beautiful scenery, wildlife, plants, and insects they would never have a chance to see if you did not have a reason to go out and explore. Geocaching can also be good for the environment. One of the motto’s of geocachers is ‘Cache In Trash Out’ which emphasizes cleaning up the trash in an area while searching for the hidden caches. GPS technology is one of today’s technologies, which focuses on travel and exploration. Much can be learned through exploration and this could be a valuable lesson to be taught to students, while still teaching them their daily academics.