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Bud_T

GPS and geocaching in science teacher education

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Greetings-

 

my name is Bud, and I am a professor of science education at the University of Colorado Denver. I'm not (yet) an avid geocacher, but I am an avid user of GPS in hiking, amateur radio (call W0RMT), and in map-making. Recently I've been using GPS to track our field trips in the elementary science methods course (for prospective elementary teachers, as the name implies). I'd like to incorporate the use of GPS more deeply into this and other science methods courses. We offer many field experience courses at the Master's level, and individual student use of GPS would fit nicely into their course work.

 

To that end, I'm getting ready to order about 10 more GPS units (eTrex Legend H- we have 5 already). I am envisioning students using these to track their hikes and then use the output file as the basis for a geospatial diary (with embedded geo-referenced images, videos, field notes, etc). But it occurred to me that geocaching would also be a nice use in the course since it seems that many teachers use geocaching with their students. And earthcaching specifically would be a great addition to our field trips. I could even build that into the above mentioned use by planting my own caches for students to find on our field trips, etc.

 

So my question for the geocaching education community is this: What would you want/expect a beginning teacher (elementary or secondary) to know about GPS and geocaching in order that they can incorporate this technology and activity into their teaching? Specifically, what skills and dispositions would they need to have, and what would this look like in their practice?

 

Thanks for your time.

 

73 Bud

W0RMT

Louisville, CO

Edited by Bud_T

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Greetings-

 

my name is Bud, and I am a professor of science education at the University of Colorado Denver. I'm not (yet) an avid geocacher, but I am an avid user of GPS in hiking, amateur radio (call W0RMT), and in map-making. Recently I've been using GPS to track our field trips in the elementary science methods course (for prospective elementary teachers, as the name implies). I'd like to incorporate the use of GPS more deeply into this and other science methods courses. We offer many field experience courses at the Master's level, and individual student use of GPS would fit nicely into their course work.

 

To that end, I'm getting ready to order about 10 more GPS units (eTrex Legend H- we have 5 already). I am envisioning students using these to track their hikes and then use the output file as the basis for a geospatial diary (with embedded geo-referenced images, videos, field notes, etc). But it occurred to me that geocaching would also be a nice use in the course since it seems that many teachers use geocaching with their students. And earthcaching specifically would be a great addition to our field trips. I could even build that into the above mentioned use by planting my own caches for students to find on our field trips, etc.

 

So my question for the geocaching education community is this: What would you want/expect a beginning teacher (elementary or secondary) to know about GPS and geocaching in order that they can incorporate this technology and activity into their teaching? Specifically, what skills and dispositions would they need to have, and what would this look like in their practice?

 

Thanks for your time.

 

73 Bud

W0RMT

Louisville, CO

 

Hi Bud!

Check out the Educaching curriculum, specifically GPS Club, which teaches teachers and students the basics of mastering geocaching in education. Written by a teacher for teachers!

-The Groundhog

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Hi Bud!

Check out the Educaching curriculum, specifically GPS Club, which teaches teachers and students the basics of mastering geocaching in education. Written by a teacher for teachers!

-The Groundhog

 

Thanks. Looks like a decent resource. I will check it out in more detail.

 

Any other thoughts from folks on building geocaching and GPS into science teacher education?

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Think of using the GPS units as a alternative to the traditional 'web quest'...instead of going from webpage to webpage, they go from cache to cache to find the info that the teacher has planted for them to find.

 

You may also want to look at the ISTE GPS/Geocaching book that just got released.

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Think of using the GPS units as a alternative to the traditional 'web quest'...instead of going from webpage to webpage, they go from cache to cache to find the info that the teacher has planted for them to find.

 

You may also want to look at the ISTE GPS/Geocaching book that just got released.

 

Thanks for the reply. Yes, I should check out the book from ISTE. I recall seeing that someplace, but had forgotten about it.

 

Web quests are on the way out for sure, but I like the idea of transitioning that type of activity into a more active, geospatial activity through geocaching. Nice analogy.

 

Bud

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The ISTE book is decent, but its focus is more on geocaching instead of integrating it into the curriculum. My teachers have had great results with lessons from the book listed below. I actually met the authors at ISTE's NECC conference in San Antonio a few years ago. This book along with their intermediate GPS and Geocaching for social studies have been very helpful in my trainings.

 

http://www.teamvistech.com/index.php/google-earth-and-gps-classroom-activities-intermediate-science-national-single.html

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The ISTE book is decent, but its focus is more on geocaching instead of integrating it into the curriculum. My teachers have had great results with lessons from the book listed below. I actually met the authors at ISTE's NECC conference in San Antonio a few years ago. This book along with their intermediate GPS and Geocaching for social studies have been very helpful in my trainings.

 

http://www.teamvistech.com/index.php/google-earth-and-gps-classroom-activities-intermediate-science-national-single.html

 

Thanks for the tip. I'll check this book out as well.

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21st century learning requires technology to be incorporated into classrooms.

 

Students need to know HOW GPS units work. They combine topographic maps, road maps, satellite imagry, a compass, pedometer, database and more.

 

I can expand how I use this in my classroom if you want.

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I love the idea of you creating New geocaches in order to get your students excited about the subject. The only warning that I have for you is that you need to see some caches and get the hang of caching, find 100 cahces before I would try this project. It just seems a little ambitious for you right now. There is a lot you can pick up from finding other peoples caches. It will definatly make the project easier for you the more experience you have.

 

Welcome to Geocaching!! XD

 

I have the perfect Idea for you though. Create Mystery Caches for your students. It can be a simple as having 5 questions that they need to answer correctly inorder to get cooridinates to a the cache. Earth Caches are cool too.

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