Winter Geocaching Considerations

After publishing this post on Geocaching in the Saskatchewan Outdoor & Environmental Association’s Fall Newsletter, Envisage, I was contacted by a middle years teacher who wanted more information.  Together, Paul & I exchanged email with the hope to bring teachers together for a Saturday morning workshop.  Our winter weather turned frigid and the workshop hasn’t materialized yet.  In preparation for this meetup, and for future reference I gathered resources on geocaching and compiled them on the wiki, GeoCachewithKyle.

Frustrated with the weather and having a hankering to try winter geocaching, I decided to spend time in the forests, and on the trails, of Duck Mountain Provincial Park with my brother.  Searching for caches in the winter certainly proved difficult and I had a few key learnings from the experience that I need to share.  I hadn’t adequately prepared the information from I did write down the coordinates correctly and the name of the cache but in most instances I neglected to write down the clues or specific details. Next time I will put more time into this front end of this process.  I was naive to think we wouldn’t need the Google Map printout, which would have been handy at times.  Having only previously cached in non-wooded areas I was unable to foresee the affects the trees would have on the GPS reading; had I been thinking, I would have packed a compass to back up my conscious and negate the fear that we may be walking in circles.  Had I better prepared the trip we would of had a much higher success rate than 1 out of 4 caches. With all this being said, it was certainly fun to skidoo the trails, high step through thick snow, tramp across frozen marshes and enjoy the sounds of the forest.

I made a short clip of our experiences that day.

Give it a watch.

This video also highlights a few more things folks should consider about geocaching.  Both safety and ‘leave no trace’ principles are a concern at different intervals of the experience. At one point I slip and fall, and other point shows us nearly mow over a young sampling.  Reflecting on the experience brings these issues to light. These two principles must be at the forefront of planning such an outdoor excursion.

Privacy Policy in Plain Canadian

Do they know how marketers watch?


In an effort to make website privacy policies kid friendly, The Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada Blog shared this neat story out of Ontario. Val Steeves (University of Ottawa) and Jacquelyn Burkell and Anca Micheti (University of Western Ontario) researched students abilities/willingness to read & comprehend online text. Now the they have come together to draft child friendly privacy policy consents for websites.

Their guidelines provide advice on word choice and phrasing (avoid double negatives; keep sentences simple and paragraphs short); information structure (arrange information in a logical order; start paragraphs with topic sentences); and design consideration (use 12-14 font size and typefaces designed for the web or preferred by kids; leave enough white space).

Turns out that a simpler version of privacy policy is coming to websites near you. I hope they continue collaborating with students and youth nation wide on this issue. I wonder how Canadian classrooms could get together to create this policy together? It will be interesting to see what comes of this initiative. I think this is another movement for the childs voice. Might make it easier for adults too 😉
More from Val Steeves

How children’s sites see your kids as marketing goldmines

My apologies to Lee Lefever and CommonCraft for the play on words.

Email Issue Leads to Parent Communication

I posted this in the discussion forum of the Digital Internship Project

I was naive in thinking that all Grade 6’s would have email. Turns out only about 60% do. The division I am in has it in their policy that students in grade 4 and over should have email addresses but this is slow in it’s implementation. As a result, I have been contemplating how to get them all addresses and decided to send them all home with the assignment of emailing me if they could. Perhaps I should of created them all gmail accounts? I think that I will create accounts for different applications in the future.

(One mistake in the situation above is that I gave them my teacher gmail account rather than my division email. I am going to ensure that all further correspondence takes place through my school account.)

But I digress, a couple days later a mother has written a note in an agenda stating that “her daughter is too young to have email.” uhoh, road bump. I have this floating in my head all day trying to think about solutions, when another student asks if it’s ok to use his Dad’s email account. a-ha solution.

This is just a minor situation and I have only had brief contact with a couple parents. But tonight I am going to compose a note to go home introducing the blog. And hopefully once my students start blogging we’ll have the parents in for a show and tell. I will talk briefly about blogging and rationale, but I also want to ensure parents of their child’s safety.

I am looking for suggestions and stories of experience from each of you reading this. What would put in a letter to go home? What would show or say to parents? Of course everyone’s situation is a bit different, but this is a major issue to be addressed.