Final Project Proposal
Geocaching with Kids in the Bay Area
Diane E. Main
October 7, 2008
EDTEC 541 (COMET section)
Problem, Need, or Opportunity
• Teachers, childcare providers, and parents will benefit from this site, which will help them learn about geocaching and how they can enjoy the activity with children in their care.
• Multimedia (such as videos and images) will help explain how GPS works and what geocaching looks like. This will increase the activity’s appeal to adults who enjoy the outdoors and/or technology.
• Hypermedia is the perfect way to link to the many geocaching resources already available online.
This site is mainly aimed at parents and teachers who want to try geocaching with their children/students. However, childcare providers such as babysitters, day care leaders, and home school instructors will also find it useful.
The one thing all these people have in common is the time they spend with children. However, they will have a wide range of experience and expertise with GPS units, with outdoor activities, and with the places (both urban and suburban) around where they live and work. Since experience levels vary so much, the site needs to include resources that users can opt to use to learn about the recreational opportunities near where they live and background information about GPS receivers and other devices used in geocaching.
I polled the visitors of the online community Geocachers of the Bay Area to find out what they would include in a website aimed at adults wanting to take kids geocaching. These include quite a few parents as well as people who have taught geocaching, either as park volunteers or in their jobs working for a major outdoor activities retailer.
Because my users may have never been geocaching, they will have many questions the site will need to address:
• What is geocaching?
• Why is it a good activity to do with children?
• What do I need for geocaching?
• Where can I go geocaching?
• What does it cost?
• How can we get started?
I think that the best way to present these topics, in terms of an interface, would be to either simply list them as links to pages that reveal the answers, or perhaps to create an image map that incorporates some of the items involved with geocaching (maps, GPS units, hiking gear, ammo boxes and other geocache containers, etc.). The image map would make it more visually appealing, especially to children in the target audience, but it would certainly take a lot longer to develop and may not actually help much with navigation.
My users may be accessing the site from home, from work, from schools or other child care sites, from public libraries, or even from portable handheld devices. Because schools differ vastly on how much and what quality of computer equipment and bandwidth they have available, the site should not be loaded down with graphics or multimedia on the front page.
I think most users will access the site from home, and they will be alone or with their kids, so I am not too concerned that sound or video will be a problem for others around them.
I think that having more than one level of materials would help my audience. Explanations geared to adults can go into more detail, while explanations or introductions aimed at children should emphasize fun and adventure over the technical background.
Resources and Limitations
I will write most of the content for this site based on my own experience and information passed along to me from friends who take their own children geocaching. I can use pictures I have taken with my son geocaching, which will show that a child as young as three or four can enjoy this activity. The videos I would like to use are from outside sources. In one case, I know a person who made the video, and in another I know several of the people who are featured in the video. I will need to secure permission to include them on my site.
I plan to create this site in Google Page Creator, which I have used before. I envision having enough time to create the majority of the site, or the entire site, because the tools are easy enough for me to use.
I am both a parent and a teacher, and I can attest that parents and teachers want certain things for their “kids.” We want them to have fun, be healthy, appreciate nature, and develop a love of learning. But how can we achieve these “fuzzy” objectives with the limited time and resources we have? Geocaching is fun, good for the body, and educational, and it gets kids outdoors. Many people have never heard of it, and this site will get them up to speed on this fun pastime that is growing in popularity around the world.
This website will enable its users to understand what geocaching is and why it is a useful activity to do with children. Text descriptions, still images, and video clips will help users know what they need to get and do to enjoy this activity. The site will include links to resources, including a local online community where they can ask specific questions and meet others with similar interests. Since many visitors will be new to the technology involved, the site’s layout must be simple and easy to navigate.