Technology, Kids and Snow
Technology, Kids and Snow
What is it about Technology and Kids these days? Did you know…“Children between the ages of six months and six years spend an average of 1.5 hours a day with electronic media, and youth between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 6.5 hours a day with electronic media; that’s more than 45 hours a week!” (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2005 and 2006)
The research is shocking and leads me to continue to question, ” What is the best way to reconnect children to nature? How can we change these statistics?” Outdoor Classrooms offer children alternative places for learning and time away from electronics and technology. As Natural Teachers, would it be shortsighted for us not to consider technology as a teaching tool outdoors?
A little story for you about technology, kids and snow. Today we celebrated our first snow day. We played RISK, baked chocolate chip muffins and walked around the garden taking pictures. (yes…and snow shoveled too) When I invited my son to go outside to take pictures for this post, he jumped at the opportunity. He couldn’t believe I was inviting him to play around with technology outdoors.
When he came back in, we looked at these pictures together. Much to my delight, he came back with exactly what I was looking for. My goal was to collect artistic pictures that capture very intentional angles that can be used for outdoor teaching and learning. In watching my son take on this challenge, I wish I had captured a picture of him taking pictures. I had not seen this side of my son before, and was intrigued. I am rethinking the use of technology outdoors.
While admiring the pictures, I pointed out how many of the pictures offered Math Outdoors. It was fun to discover the abundance of angles, shapes and lines outdoors and thanked him for his fine work.
The greater lesson was watching how technology transformed my son’s outdoor experience into a innovative opportunity to look at our natural surroundings a little differently.
It is time to hear from you? What do you see? Math Outdoors? Art Outdoors? or Science Outdoors? What do you think about incorporating technology into your Outdoor Classroom? Can you think of any nature based activities using these pictures from our first snow day? Leave a comment below.
Oh goodness, the research quote from 2006 is terrifying – and just think how much that number has most likely increased since then! THIS is why outdoor classrooms are so important! If only nature lessons were given to high schoolers who truly need them the most in my opinion. I love the idea of photographing the changes from season to season. I have a camera that I use to document at school, mainly because if I take out my phone to document they will ask if I have any games. It will be great to introduce a nature photographer during a time like this, or a land artist like Martin Hill who create sculptures in nature and then documents it with photographs. Also, would love to incorporate math into my outdoor lessons more. Your sons photographs are beautiful! Would also been a fun idea to print them out and display in the classroom to reflect back upon.
One of my first instincts when I saw the snow falling was to try and go and and catch some of the incredibly beautiful sights on my phone…it seems that most people’s phones are almost constantly with them (myself included) so it make sense to use it as a tool to try and connect with nature…SOMETIMES! I still feel that it’s important both symbolically and educationally to leave the technology behind a lot of the time when venturing into the great outdoors. I plan to have my classroom “adopt a tree” when school begins in September and track it throughout the year, I can see taking pictures of it and displaying them at our science center would be valuable.
Your son’s pictures really are nice – they give me the ideas of measuring footprints, counting and tracking shapes and angles…how about using some fallen sticks to write names/words?
We only had one day of snow, on a Sunday! We always wish for more… My little ones are too young to use the cameras at this point, but I think it will be fun to do in spring and summer when we get our garden going. In day care, I limit screen time to 30 min. a day, maximum. I do know a lot of families use it at home quite a bit more, and some , quite a bit less. I prefer none, myself.
What amazing pictures. I see a lot of snow where I live (in Vermont) and never thought to go out and SEE my day through a camera. I know that when children go to school they are asked to use their left brain (logical, linguistic) all day long, but asking students to take pictures of their environment is inviting them to engage their right brain (creative, intuitive). For me, to be a natural teacher is always activating both sides of students brains, which maximizes learning and the enjoyment of learning because both the right and left brain are working as one. As it should be. Great post!
We have been waiting for snow. It finally arrived. My son and I spent time shoveling in our quiet snowy world. Few cars drove by and the neighbors were not outside. We heard several branches cracking with the weight of the heavy snow. The sound was powerful and each crack heard seemed to last minutes. It was a challenge to pinpoint rhe fallen limbs. Many landed in our yard, the neighbors and across the river in conservation land. I think sometimes we don’t listen to nature. We view it from windows and block it out with earbuds and music. There is a lot to learn from nature’s sounds including its strengh and vulnerability.
I love this…”we have a lot to learn from natures sounds….” Listening to Nature!