Kids Afield Project - Digital Cameras as a means of reinforcing children's connection to Nature

Your Name and Title:

Robin K. Long

Teacher Environmental Education, Biology and General Science

School or Organization Name:

The Harley School

Area of the World from Which You Will Present:

Rochester, NY USA

Short Session Description (one line):

Kids Afield: Employing digital cameras to reinforce children's connection to Nature.

Full Session Description (as long as you would like):

Kids Afield was the result of collaboration between myself, an environmental teacher, and two early childhood educators as we discovered that putting Kid-Friendly digital cameras in the hands of primary students (K-1) gave them ownership of outdoor exploration on the school campus. With the limitations of only a few classroom hours per week, the project has successfully fused two intrinsic early childhood fascinations: the outdoors and technology as well as provided a visual record of the natural world that is easily shared with parents - or the world - even as it opens doors to student led scientific inquiry and myth making. This project is easily exportable to others schools and learning environments for minimal financial output. A short discussion/explanation of VoiceThread as tool for visual-audio-text sharing will be included.

While primary children are the focus of our work, this session invites the shared experiences of teachers at all levels working and/or wanting to support children's connection to the Earth. Caring for the world is a natural response to having an awareness of its mysteries and experiencing enjoyment of it's resources.

Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session:

Short 100 word bio of your background and experience in education:

In 1974, a homeschooler influenced by the Open Classroom Movement, I attempted to bring an experimental open-classroom to my local rural school - a near success. A project-based science classroom teacher (1987- 2012) at an Independent School, I left the classroom to continue as a educational 'Yearner' (Seymour Papert, 1993) in new directions. Frequently, a presenter at NY State science conventions/workshops, for years I’ve sought support from the online community of innovative educators largely via podcast. I continue to explore how my experiences and skills can connect with a wider audience of educators and students.

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