Geocaching is a civilized treasure-hunting activity enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Geotrekking takes geocaching to the next level. It expands the educational potential of geocaching by combining this enjoyable physical and mental activity with the purposeful examination of multiple geocaches (traditional, virtual, or online through Google Earth ™) designed and/or collected to provide clues, resources, and scaffolding to support learners as they work on a larger problem-based learning (PBL) challenge or set of challenges. It is expected that engaging students with this type of authentic PBL activity will support improvements in student attitudes towards the related subjects along with increased engagement and learning (e.g., Baker & White, 2003).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Geocache: Typically a hidden container and logbook that is discovered with a GPS receiver using latitude/longitude coordinates. Participants may choose to record their visit and trade trinkets with objects found in the container.
Just-In-Time-and-Place (JITAP) Learning: The learning that occurs when learners are presented with opportunities to efficiently acquire information and conceptual understanding at the moment and place they seek for it.
Problem-Based Learning (PBL): A learning model where students acquire knowledge by tackling authentic ill-defined problems. Typically the learners will have to persevere and make and justify assumptions to achieve their goal.
Geotrek: A problem-based learning challenge typically utilizing a collection of traditional, virtual, or online caches to provide information or other resources.
Virtual Geocache: A virtual geocache is a cacheless geocache where a specific location is sought for the purpose of retrieving information to answer a question, to learn about the location, or to complete a task.
Global Positioning System (GPS): A satellite-based navigation system supported by a network of satellites that circle the earth twice a day transmitting signals to earth. GPS receivers take this information and use triangulation to calculate the user’s exact location, typically reported as latitude/longitude coordinates.
Geocaching: A treasure-hunting activity using a GPS device, latitude/longitude coordinates, and optional additional clues to locate a hidden items (cache) or find particular locations of interest.
GE Geotrek: A virtual geotrek accomplished on a computer using Google Earth™ (GE).