Engaging Student Learners with GPS


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  • Been working with elementary students for 15 years. Always looking for new ways to engage students with technology.
  • GPS, or Global Position System, is a satellite-based navigation system made up of 24 satellites (plus some spares) orbiting the Earth. First used by the military, the US government made the system available for the world to use in 2000. The 24 satellites orbit about 12,000 miles above Earth and travel about 7,000 miles an hour. Each satellite sends signals back to Earth. Signals can pass through clouds, glass and plastic but not solid objects like mountains and buildings. The Clinton Administration unlocked the satellites for public use in 2000.
  • A GPS Receiver receives signals from GPS satellites and allows you to find your exact location on Earth. The receiver must lock in at least three signals to work – this gives you information on latitude, longitude, and altitude. The more signals you get the more accurate your position. A GPS receiver only works outdoors and is less reliable around tall buildings like classroom walls and tree groves that may block satellite signals. (2 nd Pic) Cloudy days can also effect signals. It is important to find an open area if possible when turning on the GPS receiver.
  • Geocaching is an engaging, hands-on outdoor scavenger hunt that encourages inquiry and problem-solving. The word geocaching is made up of two words – geo for geography and cache, a term used for hiding provisions. Using hand-held global positioning systems (GPS), geocachers search for hidden caches in different locations. There are different kinds of a caches. A traditional cache is a box that holds a log book, pencil, and items for trading. Microcaches are small caches that hold just a logbook. An earth cache is a physical place. Isn’t it amazing that in less than 10 years more than 930,000 caches have been hidden in over 100 countries.
  • The rules of geocaching are simple. There are more rules related to what can actually be placed in caches. They just require a bit of common sense – i.e. no food, weapons, etc.
  • Educaching takes the concept of geocaching into the classroom. Teachers hide caches related to their curriculum while students search for them – on a school playground, across the school campus, at a local nature park, while on a field trip,– locations for educaches are limitless. In addition, using the Internet and Google Earth allows students to participate in geocaching activities globally. Started in 2000 with 75 cahces were posted online, today there are more than
  • Educaching allows students to: Take ownership for their learning. Use real world data to encourage high order thinking skills. Collaborate and cooperate when working with a team Increase their understanding of mapping systems, as well as the principles of direction, distance, and location. Construct their own knowledge and share it with others. Make decisions. IT’s FUN!!!!
  • Educaching allows students to: Create student-centered environments. Present authentic, real-world tasks. Instill in students curiosity about geography, science, mathematics, and the world in which they live. Engage the multiple intelligences. Embed learning in a collaborative, social environment. Integrate the curriculum.
  • One of the easiest and cheapest ways to get started with geocaching is through the use of travel bugs. A travel bug is an item that can be tracked online at Geocaching.com (free). Each travel bug (dog tag) has its own tracking number stamped on it. This tag is then attached to a small item such as a stuffed toy, key chain or luggage tag and placed inside a cache. Geocachers will move a travel bug from cache to cache in the real world, while you and your students can track its movement online. Travel bugs can be given tasks or missions to complete. It is up to the owner of the bug to decide.
  • I have released 8 travel bugs in the last year with my students. They have been in 25 states and 3 countries. One has traveled to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower and is on its way back again.
  • Last year I kept a map in my lab that students got to see each week. Now the map is hanging on a hallway bulletin board for the kids to continue to follow. Part of the website allows you to download .kmz files showing the path of the travel bug.
  • Tupperware, film containers,
  • I began by having students
  • To kick off a unit on Asia, caches held flags from 12 different countries. Their first task was to use an online flag website to identify their country’s flag. Next, they were asked to use World Book for Kids to research either the geography, people, economy or government of their country. Finally, students composed information paragraphs to add to a class wiki. This wiki will be added to again this year.
  • Engaging Student Learners with GPS

    1. 1. Empowering Student Learners with GPS Presented by Anna Baralt
    2. 2. Presenter Introduction Anna Baralt Instructional Technologist K-4 Technology Department Chair Shorecrest Preparatory School PK3 – 12 Private School St. Petersburg, FL [email_address]
    3. 3. What is GPS? <ul><li>Global Positioning System </li></ul><ul><li>System of 24 satellites send radio signals to Earth. </li></ul><ul><li>Orbit Earth every 12 hours. </li></ul><ul><li>Available to public in 2000. </li></ul>
    4. 4. What is a GPS Receiver? <ul><li>Receives signals from satellites. </li></ul><ul><li>Only works outdoors. </li></ul><ul><li>Need at least 3 signals. </li></ul><ul><li>More signals, more accurate your position. </li></ul><ul><li>Can get within 15 feet. </li></ul>
    5. 5. What is Geocaching? <ul><li>A high-tech scavenger hunt utilizing the GPS system. </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: to locate hidden treasure from latitude/longitude coordinates found on websites such as Geocaching.com </li></ul><ul><li>Caches Worldwide: 1,164,401 </li></ul><ul><li>Estimated Geocachers Worldwide: 4.5 million </li></ul><ul><li>Logs Recorded in last 30 Days: 4,721,256 </li></ul>
    6. 6. Rules of Geocaching <ul><li>Once you find the cache, relocate the cache exactly as you found it. </li></ul><ul><li>If you take something from the cache, leaving something of equal or greater value. </li></ul><ul><li>Sign the log book and log your find on the Geocaching.com website. </li></ul>
    7. 7. Geocaching Educaching <ul><li>Educaching takes the concept of geocaching into the curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>Teacher-led, student-driven hunts using GPS technology, maps, and other navigational tools. </li></ul><ul><li>Students work in teams to find educational caches. </li></ul>
    8. 8. Why Use Educaching in Your Curriculum? <ul><li>Promotes active, hands-on student participation. </li></ul><ul><li>Engages students in real-world tasks. </li></ul><ul><li>Fosters collaboration and cooperation. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages problem solving and decision making. </li></ul><ul><li>Increases understanding of mapping systems, direction, distance and locations. </li></ul>Benefits to Students
    9. 9. Why Use Educaching in Your Curriculum? <ul><li>Allows the creation of a student-centered learning environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching takes place in an authentic, real-world way. </li></ul><ul><li>Engages the multiple intelligences. </li></ul><ul><li>Embed learning in a collaborative, social environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Easily integrated across the curriculum. </li></ul>Benefits to Teachers
    10. 10. The Basics <ul><li>Cache = a hiding place that temporarily stores items </li></ul><ul><li>Educache = an item or container hidden for students to find that directly applies to their learning </li></ul><ul><li>Waypoint = a marked location that is stored in the memory of your GPS receiver </li></ul><ul><li>Travel Bug = trackable item followed on Geocaching.com. </li></ul><ul><li>Muggle = a non-geocacher </li></ul>
    11. 11. Getting Started – Travel Bugs <ul><li>A trackable item. </li></ul><ul><li>Tracked on Geocaching.com. </li></ul><ul><li>Acts like a hitchhiker, moved from cache to cache. </li></ul><ul><li>Geocachers log the bug’s movements. </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures can be uploaded too. </li></ul>
    12. 12. How Travel Bugs Work <ul><li>Can be given any mission. </li></ul><ul><li>Tie into curriculum. </li></ul><ul><li>Use Google Earth to record the bug’s travels. </li></ul><ul><li>.KMZ files can be downloaded from website. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Travel Bugs – Classroom Ideas <ul><li>Keep a map in classroom or on bulletin board in hallway. </li></ul><ul><li>Use .KMZ files to teach how to use Google Earth. </li></ul><ul><li>Research each location the bug ends up – teachable moments. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pony Express </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mount Rushmore </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Washington, DC </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Keep a scrapbook of photos with write-ups from research. </li></ul>
    14. 14. Educaching Without a GPS <ul><li>Can still start without GPS receivers. </li></ul><ul><li>Use maps and compass. </li></ul><ul><li>Containers for caches. Be creative. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Classroom Idea – Researching GPS & Geocaching
    16. 16. Classroom Idea – Researching GPS and Geocaching Third Grade VoiceThread
    17. 17. Classroom Idea - Math Sorting, Classifying, and Graphing www.createagraph.com
    18. 18. Classroom Idea – Math & Geography Identifying Foreign Currency & Converting to US Dollars Geocaching in 4 th Grade Video
    19. 19. Classroom Ideas – Social Studies http://aboutasia.wikispaces.com/ 2 nd Grade Asia Video
    20. 20. Classroom Ideas - Science Earth Day Cache – Students use selected websites to answer essential questions about recycling, pollution, water, and composting. Recycling (Essential Questions) 1. What are the 3 steps of the recycling process? (Not the 3 R’s) 2. In your own words, what is recycling? 3. How much trash is disposed in landfills in the US each year? 4. What is special about the design of landfills? 5. Name 6 types of trash that can contaminate land, water, or air if not disposed of properly. 6. Why must you sort different types of glass when recycling? 7. What can be made by recycling high-density polyethylene? 8. Name 6 different ways old tires are recycled? 9.How can you determine if your can is made of aluminum and recyclable? 10. Why are there seven different recycling codes for practice?
    21. 21. Classroom Ideas Music & Research Clue Cards Jazz Website
    22. 22. Classroom Ideas - Writing Find photos in caches, then use mapping software to brainstorm adjectives before writing a descriptive paragraph.
    23. 23. Classroom Ideas - Writing Find photos or word cards in caches, then use a word processor to write haiku poetry.
    24. 24. Resources <ul><li>Using GPS Wiki http://usinggps.wikispaces.com </li></ul><ul><li>GPS, Geocaching, and Geography in the Elementary Classroom Blog http://elementarygeocaching.blogspot.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>Educaching: GPS Based Curriculum for Teachers http://www.educaching.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>Dr. Alice Christie’s GPS and Geocaching Guide for Educators http://www.alicechristie.org/geocaching/index.html </li></ul><ul><li>The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geocaching by Jack W. Peters ©2004 </li></ul>