Clever tech and Outdoor Classroom Day

26 June 2017

The view from LTL

Global school map

In a previous blog for LTL I found myself admiring the technological capabilities of others…this appears to be a theme.

Following the decision to give our own National School Grounds Week campaign a break, LTL was super excited to be invited by Cath Prisk of Outdoor People (the Global Partnership Manager for Outdoor Classroom Day) to lead the UK and Ireland portion of the global Campaign. 

Empty Classroom Day, as it was before I went on maternity leave and the small person arrived, was a brilliant but small local embryo campaign to engage London schools in a bit more outdoor learning and play. 

As it happens Outdoor Classroom Day had grown up and was a lively teenager set to take on the world. Thanks to the sprightly Project Dirt and Persil’s Dirt is Good movement the campaign is now growing exponentially, not just in the UK but across the Globe.

The technology and talent behind a campaign of this magnitude is incredible. Long gone are the days when schools desire sticker packs and paper sponsorship forms. Social media is driving a fast-paced demand for readily available information, inspiration and resources – and Outdoor Classroom Day is meeting this demand. 

Thanks to a bit of Project Dirt back-office tech magic, the teacher journey for Outdoor Classroom Day is simple:  

1. Take a look at the brilliant Outdoor Classroom Day resources (optional); 

2. Sign up (it takes 2 minutes, I know this because I timed it); 

3. Spend a lesson or day outside;  and

4. Tell us about it.

Each time somebody signs up to the campaign as a teacher it appears on a map. Geographical co-ordinates of the signer-upper (techy term I believe?) feed in from 8 separate websites across the world to appear on a global map of schools and other educational sites. If you signed up you can pin-point your school on this map alongside 9,939 schools across the world. Do check out the map – it’s a great way to find like-minded educators across the World for your international projects.

Twitter, Facebook and Instagram played a huge role too in driving a campaign of this size.  In recent years LTL has monitored the trends of social media with our local audiences – and the jury is still out. We know our partners and other NGO’s use twitter predominantly for key messaging and sharing and we know some teachers use Facebook, but this tends to be for personal use and sharing with close networks. The clever people at Project Dirt and Dirt is Good live and breathe this stuff - they even created an algorithm to sniff out the most influential education sharers and bloggers. As a result the global campaign achieved over 40million social media impressions (I too had to look this up!) and at one point trended above the Conservative manifesto in the UK – a career highlight for some perhaps?

As of today 1.1million children globally were involved in Outdoor Classroom Day 2017, with nearly half of these being in the UK and Ireland. Whilst technology plays a huge part in facilitating this, it is the teachers, educators, outdoor learning and play advocates and children that really power what is turning out to be a global movement for change.  Keep up the good work!

Chloe (LTL's Development Manager)

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