Information that was once contained solely within the domain of books and other hardcopy formats is finding a new home in digital formats, where it can be presented and manipulated in more interactive ways.
Now, even outdoor education resources are beginning to appear online and in mobile apps (read: applications), as is the case for a new project dubbed the ‘Outdoor Ed APPbag of Tricks’.
Not satisfied with having published guidebooks and articles for outdoor enthusiasts and educators alike, Ro Privett envisaged mobile software that would act to compile practical information on how to conduct safe, informative adventures with young people, with a view to inspire more people to get out and experience what’s on offer in the Australian wilderness.
“There are so many talented and passionate staff working in outdoor education with a vast amount of knowledge and skills,” Privett said. “My desire is to capture as much of that knowledge within a simple ‘at your fingertips’ resource in order to spread that value throughout the education community, thereby further enhancing many more outdoor experiences.”
Privett, more at home in a kayak than behind a computer, had little experience in creating such apps, but after “much research” he discovered a platform that allowed him to create the mobile application he envisaged with little proper coding required.
“The majority of the work has been taken up with collating information and research, uploading content and learning the technical features available to us. Add to this the time it took to learn about what it takes to actually get an app like this published, then it’s taken about a year of solid work to take this concept to market.”
Launched toward the end of 2015, the app is available on both Apple and Android app stores (it costs under $10), and is currently finding success in the hands of information-hungry teachers and outdoor educators. The Outdoor Ed APPbag of Tricks contains a variety of general teaching resources, outdoor specific content and a range of inspirational outdoor videos. Connectivity with Facebook also provides a layer of social networking that helps the concept gain further traction among its key user group.
With the app, educators gain access to talking points, icebreakers, games and much more that could come in handy while out in the field. In effect, the app reduces the need for carrying stacks of resources into a setting where most people would prefer to be carrying very little, if anything.
“Just like outdoor education in general, the sky is the limit for this app’s potential,” Privett claims. “We encourage contributions and feedback to help us continue to improve on this initial release so that the end result will be a truly refined product, useful and useable for anyone in the outdoor education industry.”
A version of this article originally appeared in Wild Magazine.