Sunday, September 16, 2012

Take Technology Outside

I feel fortunate to enjoy the balance of loving and promoting technology use, as well as enjoying and engaging in the outdoors. I am often engaged in discussion with people that are resistant to using technology, or allowing children access to technology because they believe it will take away their curiosity and passion for being active and playing outside. I disagree. Technology, as I will say over and over in this blog, is a tool that can further enhance many experiences.

LeafSnap. Try the free app, LeafSnap. This app created by (add). Take your device outside and snap pictures of leaves, and then watch as the app helps you identify them. Not only does this app serve as a field guide, it also provides gorgeous, detailed photos of the cycle from the blossom to the leaf. Next time you take a walk, take along this app and see what you can find. Or better yet, create a scavenger hunt using LeafSnap.

Project Noah. I LOVE Project Noah. Project Noah began as part of NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program, and has grown into a kid-friendly, interactive database for the world's organisms. Visit Project Noah to check out Missions that might be happening in your area, like identifying Butterflies and Birds of the World. Or create your own Mission to engage your children or students, their friends, and your community. Take your camera or smartphone with you as you explore the organisms around you. Simply take pictures, upload them to the Project Noah app or website. Project Noah offers neat features like tagging where you observed the organism on a map, labeling the organism into a category like fungi, reptile, fish, etc. Next time you venture outdoors, think about challenging your child(ren) to be a citizen scientist with this great tool.

Star Walk - 5 Stars Astronomy Guide. Take this app outside with you during your next camping trip, or stargazing adventure and you won't be disappointed. Not only will this app help you identify that constellation outside your bedroom window, it also has many other great features like the Time Machine where you can view the sky from a different point in time, past or present.

These suggestions are just a quick snapshot of the ways you can engage children in the great outdoors with the help of technology.

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