Outdoor learning is rightly becoming more important in the Scottish curriculum. Firstly because Health and Well being is now a shared responsibility in the new Curriculum, so taking learning outdoors is more important and secondly because traditional subject teaching is changing. Traditional subject teachers are increasingly expected to collaborate and share their knowledge across subject devisions: what better way to start than with out of classroom learning, in rural or urban landscapes. Sharing authentic tasks in relevant contexts and offering experience of real life problem solving to pupils.
It is too often the case though that when we say outdoor learning that does not include using computers because they can be seen as things for playing games on or at the very least not good for your health. In other words educators often think 'ICT but'. I think ICT but nothing, when it comes to outdoor learning. Derek Robertson is pushing the boundaries and has debunked the idea of 'ICT but.....' in teaching with computer games . He won an award at the Handheld Learning Conference in London recently for just that. Teachers may need alittle more encouragement for connecting up subject specific learning, learning outdoors and using ICT. We Should explore and exploit technology for this purpose, using: handheld devices, cameras and mobile phones. ICT is for communication, collaboration and for connecting with the outdoors. There are so many choices for how we use technology for outdoor learning that it is silly to say ICT but.... unless you do not have it. Geography teachers have a special role to play here , in schools, by developing new approaches to teaching and learning outdoors, integrating technology and sharing that learning indoors. Geographers have always taken a special interest in ICT, information systems and collaborative enquiry. Take a look at the SAGT conference program, and Ollie Brae's blog.