The WilderQuest Learning Portal was developed by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service with support from NSW Environmental Trust.
The program aims to bridge the gap between technology and the great outdoors through fun online activities, games and challenges in beautiful virtual Australian environments and includes a Rangers station.
The science investigations and environmental games aim to inspire kids to love and care for nature – and more importantly, get outdoors and experience it.
Designed for Stages 1, 2 and 3 (K-6) the program offers ten week teacher programs with digital technology and classroom activities, outdoor learning and park visits.
There are links to both NSW and Australian curricula with a focus on the Science syllabus and across the curriculum to Geography, History, Maths, English, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures and Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
Teachers who have used the program put its popularity down to the positive impact it has with students in the classroom.
Lauren Irvine from Neutral Bay Public School loves using WilderQuest because it engages and inspires her students to learn about and explore nature online and in the real world.
“We have access to lots of different programs and we only continue to use the ones that the students engage with. Wilderquest has definitely been a program that my students have loved using,” said Lauren.
“The planning process is also really easy. You just log into the WilderQuest platform and use the notes to create the lesson. I liked that you could customise the activities and assign work to different groups too.”
Carolyn Taylor from Holy Family Merewether School in Newcastle says the platforms success is due to the environmental lesson plans and online resources which link to the great outdoors.
“Children love new digital technologies and they are critical to learning in the 21st century so it’s great I can use WilderQuest Learning to plan lessons that encourage children to explore and play outside in nature by using technology,” said Carolyn.
While the portal has already seen enormous success, over the next three years, there are a number of new innovations planned for WilderQuest Learning to make it even more useful for teachers and for students.
Our Aboriginal Rangers will soon take you on a 360 degree journey to tell more stories of their culture. These and lesson activities will be added to the WilderQuest Campfire, for example, due later in 2017.
For more information about the WilderQuest Learning program and how you can get involved, visit: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/education-services/wilderquest-learning
The WilderQuest Learning team will also be on hand at EduTECH on 8 – 9 June 2017.