Last week I was directed towards an article in TESS about an Edinburgh teacher using digital technology outside with her class. It was a lovely, positive article which I hope will inspire more teachers to take young children outdoors into the world beyond the designated outdoor area or school grounds. The talking postcards mentioned in the article can be bought from TTS. It’s also worth shopping around on the Internet for other deals here too.
Using digital technology outside is not new and the range of possibilities are ever growing as portable ICT equipment becomes the norm. In fact I don’t think it will be too many years into the future where the iPhone or a similar equivalent becomes a standard piece of teacher kit. A couple of months ago I mentioned some of the outdoor uses of iPhones on this blog.
Other possible ICT outdoor activities offer great opportunities to enhance the indoor classroom provision. Have old digital equipment available for children to take apart and look inside.
Two plastic cups linked by a piece of string still works! However fun can be had with webcams which are set up indoors to view activities happening outside or to see children playing in other settings, using GLOW or other shared networking.
Children need time to explore and experiment with digital equipment such as cameras or camcorders. Parents and carers can also show children and allow them to use their mobile phones for such experiences too.
Many children enjoy playing with radio controlled cars and toys which provide a natural introduction to positional language. Simple obstacle courses for such toys can be set up outside which the children can make up with props available.
Children enjoy collecting tiny objects and using digital microscopes to view the objects close up.
Other ideas for using ICT in the outdoor curriculum including real world experiences can be found in Bilton H (2005) Learning Outdoors
- Have old mobile phones for outdoor role play
- MP3 players are great for dancing indoors or out
- Digital recorders – for listening activities, games and recording sounds outside on walks etc
- Radio mikes – relive your time at T in the Park and hold outdoor concerts – informal and impromptu!
- Karaoke – Can be put at a window for listening, singing along to and dancing outdoors
- Digital cameras – A must. Have old ones for use in role play and teach the children how to use a real one. Smart phones are very useful here too so that children can see the photo they have taken instantly.
- CCTV. Buy a cheap one from a DIY store, checking that it is suitable for outdoor use. Set it up in different parts of the nursery including outdoors.
- Children’s video cameras are great fun, e.g. Intel Digital Blue. Again, teach the children how to operate. Also useful for taping a game or activity and getting the children to watch and reflect. They like seeing themselves and each other on film!
- Metal detectors. Buy a child size hand held one and plant treasure in the sand pit or digging area or other places for the children to find. Lots of potential here.
- Go for a technology walk in the local area. Press the buttons on pelican crossings. Use an ATM machine, look at parking meters, digital advertising, screens and clocks. Find shops which sell digital equipment.