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Part III: Making Technology Work for You

March 25, 2013

Last week, the articles that I mentioned pointed us towards a seemingly obvious conclusion; that an unadulterated outdoor experience can benefit us in ways that no other experience can.  I think there is a lot to be said about shutting down the devices and diving into your surroundings while you’re at camp, but the conversation shouldn’t just end here. There are other questions to ask. How do we convince a child – whose day-to-day routine is heavily supplemented by, if not reliant upon, the use of electronics -that something else is out there, and worth giving a chance? Are there ways to incorporate this technology into our lives so that our outdoor experience can actually be enhanced?

This article, appearing on a Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland blog, offers us some insight.  “So, what’s more important?” it asks, “Having a PURE outdoor experience or having SOME outdoor experience at all?” It then goes on to explain some opportunities that campers have to enjoy a “melded outdoor/techno experience.” These “hybrid” sort of activities can mean the difference between a child who stays inside all day and a child who pleads to mom and dad to go on another hike or to sing another song at campfire. How? Geocaching, for example, is an app that allows users, with help from their smartphone or other GPS device, go on the kind of real-world, outdoor treasure hunt that I always wished for when I was kid. You can get a full explanation of how it works by watching this video.

Sky Map, the app I talked about in my first blog entry on this subject, allows the user to point his or her phone or tablet at the sky and see detailed maps of the constellations. And for anyone looking to prepare something special for the camp talent show, Garageband is a great, easy-to-use app for music making. Does your child want to show off how he or she just learned how to play “Chopsticks” on the piano? Can do! Want to accompany your guitar-playing friend with some bluesy organ playing? No problem! Remember – this technology is all about how you use it.

Posted by: Rick
Topics: Activities, Family

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