Wednesday, 24 October 2012 05:15

Geocaching and Education = Educaching ... Also for P.E. ?

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Geocaching and Education = Educaching ... Also for P.E. ?

1.1 What is Geocaching ? (source: whatis.techtarget.com)

Geocaching, also referred to as GPS stash hunting, is a recreational activity in which someone "buries" something for others to try to find using a Global Positioning System ( GPS ) receiver. The pursuit can be thought of as a GPS-enabled treasure hunt. Usually, a geocache consists of a small, waterproof container that holds a logbook and inexpensive trinkets. Participants are called geocachers.

Participants in a geocaching adventure use the features and capability of a GPS unit to find the cache. Geocaching enthusiasts hope to have individuals and groups all over the world secrete caches in a wide variety of locations and post the caches' coordinates on the Internet. GPS users then follow the location coordinates to find the caches.

Here's one typical geocache hunt: The geographic coordinates of a geocache were described on a Web site, which the users followed to the cache. The geocache consisted of a plastic Tupperware box containing a little notebook, a disposable camera, a printed informational sheet about the location, and several trinkets (a pen, postage stamps, a rubber ball, and a local postcard). The finders were encouraged to write a short note in the notebook, including the weather that day, who was involved on the hunt, whether the cache was easy or hard to find, and any other information they wanted to include. One finder took out the rubber ball and left a little toy car in its place. The finder left a photo of her husband and son in the camera and then placed everything back in the box and rehid it for future geocachers to find. Back home, the finders sent a note to the Web site describing their experience.

An Introduction to Geocaching

To learn a bit about geocaching, check out this excellent short video.

1.2 Literature:

Using GPS and Geocaching engages, empowers, and enlightens Middle School Teachers and Students

How to Go Geocaching

1.3 Geocaching.com:

Geocaching.com - the official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site - is an easy to use website. The navigation bar on the left helps you to find geocaches and more about the hobby to learn. This is the best place to start.

Browse through their videos "The Geocaching.com Channel"

2.1 EDUCACHING: Capturing the Spirit of the Hunt for Learning ( source: nagc.org )

Educaching is bringing the popular adventure sport of Geocaching into the classroom. Teachers around the world are giving GPS devices to their students to create a fun and innovative learning atmosphere.

Educaching refers to the educational application of geocaching, the world's fastest growing hobby/sport/game. Made possible by the cutting-edge technology of the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Internet, geocaching is a high-tech scavenger hunt that entices men, women, and children (a.k.a. cachers) to search for hidden treasures (caches) all around the world using latitude and longitude coordinates that have been posted for particular caches. Cachers play two roles in geocaching; they are both the hiders (owners) and the seekers of caches. Cachers use the Internet to post the locations (a.k.a. waypoints) and written descriptions of the caches they have hidden and want others to find. Other cachers use the Internet to find cache descriptions with waypoints that others have posted and then use handheld GPS receivers and detective-like reasoning to discover the caches.

Caches can take a variety of forms. Traditional caches are containers usually filled with trinkets and mementos; virtual caches are existing structures such as historic sites; and earth caches are geographic features. The latter two types of caches are often posted because the cache "owner" thinks these sites might be of interest to others. Inside traditional caches one might find or place a trackable item, such as a travel bug or a geocoin. These items have unique tracking numbers which are logged by the finders on a geocaching website (http://www.geocaching.com/), so that as the items "travel" from cache to cache, those watching them can plot their movements on a map or a globe…a super high-tech version of Flat Stanley!

Educaching:

  • Takes the classroom out into the world
  • Encourages teamwork and critical thinking
  • Can be used in math, science, history or for physical education/fitness

Curricular Connections to Geocaching

Help to explain what Educaching is all about

Educaching - A GPS Based Curriculum for Teachers

Educaching's channel

2.2 How to use Educaching in physical education?

Physical Education: Fun activities for fitness and movement are easily differentiated for various levels of physical demand; caches are often accessible to students with mobility impairments and are noted as such on caching websites; spatial orientation is refined through the real-world use of the GPS receiver, the compass, and the map.

Gopher Sport has elaborated a package for P.E.

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