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As a parent, teacher, and a lifelong gamer, I'm interested in using all means possible to improve the lives of children. With the advancement of mobile social media technology, I'm interested in using some of these applications to promote going outside. Many mobile phone now have GPS technology and there are many games out there such as Foursquare, Gowalla, Traveler's Quest, and Geocaching. I have been trying to use these applications along with Facebook and Twitter, to get people to go to local parks to find the items while exploring. Has anyone done anything like this or know any resources to help me?
Thank you!
Mark Meyers
Jacksonville, Florida

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Hi Mark,

 

Am very interested in what you find...

 

We have a (very humble version 1.0) iPhone app that we are using to blend education with outdoor adventure.  Right now, we have one location - a walking tour of the Old Sacramento State Historic Park in Sacramento California.

 

Our goal is to expand the idea to several parks in California with different adventure themes that blend learning across a variety of topics.

At the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve here in Auburn, AL we have several geocaches located on our trails and we regularly see people coming around to find them.  We also have a Facebook page for the Preserve and a Facebook page for parents of preschoolers and use both of those to communicate with people.  I think it's been beneficial in our communications.  I think that there is a lot more that can be done with technology to encourage people to get outdoors.  Good luck!

 

Daisy Griffin

Teacher Naturalist  & Author of Samantha Loses the Box Turtle

Check out the website/ app : iNaturalist.org (app is iNaturalist)

Hi Mark ...please check out our app Let's Go Chipper it excites and readies kids for adventures in the great outdoors. We are currently building the second phase of the program which will have a platform for kids to create their own parks. Until then, download and have fun! Kids love it and it's eco-educational, correlated in Science, Arts & Literature, and Social Skills. Let's Go Chipper in iTunes.

Hi Mark,

I really like this new app for families with 3-5 year-olds. It does have a few bugs to work out, but updates will be made. Overall, it is a nice tool to use during outdoor play. I also like the opportunities it provides to record, discuss and share experiences. Check out the video: http://www.etc.cmu.edu/global_news/?q=node%2F547

Danny

Hi Danny and Mark,

I think I mentioned our app Let's Go Chipper before - I wanted ot share it's a teacher's favorite as of the 21st Century learning principals, music and nature-inspired, with valuable "what did you learn" moments. It's also a packed-app taking kids on adventures into the great outdoors to learn about our park systems and environments. We have a featured app which even explores Crissy Field and the series will continue with a new app launching in May. Camping, hiking, and outdoor fun is what Chipper promotes and kids receive a Chipper For Parks badge when they download.  Let's Go Chipper in iTunes and also information on our Chipper For Parksprogram.

 

We also have real page turners for kids which helps reinforce the message.


Mike Barlow said:

Hi Mark,

 

Am very interested in what you find...

 

We have a (very humble version 1.0) iPhone app that we are using to blend education with outdoor adventure.  Right now, we have one location - a walking tour of the Old Sacramento State Historic Park in Sacramento California.

 

Our goal is to expand the idea to several parks in California with different adventure themes that blend learning across a variety of topics.

Attachments:

No matter what tools we decide to use with (or make for) our children I think it is important to actively engage in thoughtful conversations like this one: New America NYC Panel: Baby Brains and Video Games

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oe7nn5b49xM&feature=player_embedded

My main takeaways are the importance of creating balance between tech and non-tech experiences, adult participation and consideration of the individual child.

Here's the description of the panel: 
From iPads to smartphones to laptops, today's children are introduced to digital media almost as soon as they can babble and point. How should parents think about the effects of screen time on young brains? Are today's babies and toddlers learning the art of interaction, or picking up the vice of distraction? As science continues to show the critical importance of brain development in the earliest years, a panel of early learning experts will help us see this barrage of new media through a baby's eyes -- and offer some unconventional insights on technology's impact on young children in a digital age.




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