Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Geocaching and Education, part 1

This is the first post in a series of free resources for educators interested in using geocaching in education and other community groups like scouts or camps. The material is pulled directly from Educaching GPS Based Curriculum for Teachers. If interested in more resources, check out

Jason Hubbard, Author

What is Educaching?
Educaching could be described as a mixture of Hide and Seek, treasure hunting, and learning all wrapped up into one experience. When you were younger and you used to play Hide and Seek, there was a thrill involved with finding other children who were hidden in secret spots and the victory won when you “spotted” them. And who of us has never had thoughts of finding “buried treasure” or finding the “X” that marks the spot? There is also a fascination, especially among children, with gadgets, gizmos, and technological wonders of our day and age, in which young people are the chief users. In many cases they can run circles around their parents and teachers in regard to the use of technologies available to us today. 
So, why not place this technology into their hands, give them a few clues to go find hidden “treasure” with it, and use these methods as a vehicle to teach your lessons and curriculum? Interested? This is what I call Educaching!
The students actually seek knowledge. They are responsible for probing and discovering what they must know. It is an incredible responsibility that is incredibly fun! Here’s a quick rundown of how it all works. You take some math problems, or a piece of historical knowledge, or a science experiment, and you hide these things somewhere on the school grounds outdoors (GPS does not work indoors…yet). Then, you use a GPS receiver to obtain signals from the satellites to give you the exact locations of the objects you have hidden. You save these locations as “waypoints,” which can be stored in your receiver’s memory. Next, you give the students the waypoints, along with a map and a GPS receiver and have them go out into the school yard and find what is hidden. When they find these objects, a.k.a. an Educache, they have a job to do. For example, they must collect data, take measurements, solve a problem, perform an experiment, or take a picture.  When the hunt is over, the students return with you indoors to discuss their discoveries, complete assessments, and extend their learning further through projects and presentations. Sound difficult? It isn’t, once you familiarize yourself with the GPS receiver and follow the instructions within this manual. You’ll be preparing your first Educaching hunt for your students in no time!

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