Kids love to use technology. Technology offers an exciting way to engage children with the natural world. Use these suggestions to help your students learn new ways to interact with nature and each other.
Before using a technology for the first time, let your students explore the technology and teach them how to use it properly. Something as a hand lens might be an entirely new experience for a child.
Take students on a nature walk. Give students opportunities to photograph things in their outdoor environment and bring this information back to the classroom.
Digital Recording Device
Record environmental sounds in a variety of areas around the school. Replay them in the classroom and have students use the information collected to construct a sound map.
Enhance Outdoor Exploration
View things in different ways by using magnifying lenses, bug boxes, and binoculars.
Changes in the Environment
Become aware of changes in the environment by observing sundials, windsocks, and thermometers.
Look Up Information About Nature
What kind of tree is that? There’s an app for that! See a cool bird? Google it!
- WildLab Bird - A free app that can be downloaded onto the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (try iBird Lite for Android). Use WildLab Bird to learn the basics of bird identification. This application uses audio, photographs, maps, and the process of elimination to help identify over 200 bird species. Sightings can also be entered into a national bird watching database for comparison.
- WildObs Observer - A free app that can be downloaded onto the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Android. WildObs Observer allows users to search for and identify thousands of species of mammals, birds, snakes, plants, and more. Log your wildlife encounters for your own calculations or upload them to a national database for comparison.
- Leafsnap - A free app that can be downloaded onto the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (Andriod version in development). Leafsnap uses visual recognition software to help identify tree species from individual leaf photographs you take in the field. This application contains high-resolution images of bark, flowers, fruit, seeds, and more. Currently Leafsnap specializes in tree species found in the Northeastern United States, but expansion to include all US regions is underway.