Technology in Different Forms
The word “technology”, when used in conjunction with “education”, conjures up images of laptops, desktop computers, and other familiar tools. However, there are more types of technology to be taken advantage of. Cell phones, mP3 devices, and so on. Recently, my students got to experiment with and use another type of technology – the hand held GPS.
As parents, we are often trying to find things to do with our families that are affordable and fun. Geocaching is one of those things. We took our kids geocaching and had a blast. We ended up at a fort, and took the tour. We saw an old cemetery and read some amazing epitaphs. We climbed nature trails and saw some awesome sights. All it cost us was time and a little gas. It was worth it for the adventure we found.
Geocaching is like a modern day treasure hunt. Using a GPS and some coordinates, eager participants go off in search of treasures placed by people from all over the world. Some are very challenging – even involving canoe rides – others are simpler and just require time, patience, and sharp eyes. We became hooked. When I learned that our region’s educational center in San Angelo had some GPS units and would bring them and would even help set up a geocaching activity for my students – I jumped at it.
After a discussion in how GPS units are used by emergency personnel, how they work with satellites, and a demonstration in how to use the units – my kids were off and running (some literally) in search of treasure! It was amazing, and fun, and a reminder to me of the different types of technology available. We have many resources to draw from, and I was excited and pleased to be able to bring this one to my students.
At the end of the sessions, I asked, “What did you learn from this activity today?” You might like to see what they said:
“How to work a GPS unit.”
“It’s important to work together.”
“Take your time and listen.”
“I like geocaching.”
You know the expression, “The proof is in the pudding?” Well. The proof in this pudding was that all the students – every last one – are begging to do this again.
And you know what? We are going to do this again – it will be bigger and better and more exciting! We are already planning it – what a great experience for our kids to finish off the year with another treasure hunt!
I feel like I should don a pirate hat and eye patch and limp around making profound remarks such as, “Arrrrr, matey!”
While I search for a peg leg and pirate hat, I will continue to also search for new ideas and new ways to bring technology to my students. And the best part about a lot of these things is that they are all around us in unexpected places.
Christine Moore currently holds a degree from Howard Payne University and recently earned her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. She is now working on her Ph.D. in Educational Technology at Walden University. Married with four children who attend Brownwood schools, Christine teaches 6th grade reading in Brownwood and has been working in education at various levels for the past 15 years. Christine welcomes your questions and comments and would love to hear from you!