Twenty-six local primary school children, from Standens Barn and Rowan Gate Primary Schools experienced wild education at the University of Northampton this week. The pupils had a wild time exploring indoor and outdoor learning with technology.

Fourteen pupils, aged five and six, from Standens Barn Primary School spent a morning working within the Forest School on campus, an outdoor teaching space which can be used as an outside classroom venue.  Using technology outdoors, students from the BA Early Years Education and BA Primary Education students worked with the pupils to explore the environment of the Forest School, creating a ‘bug hotel’ habitat and hunting for local creepy crawlies; along the way the pupils also spotted a fox, rabbits and squirrels. As part of the Erasmus+ project, Digital Learning across Boundaries (DLaB), these pupils used mobile devices and apps to research the wildlife spotted within the forest school, creating a video which will be shared with pupils in schools in Denmark, Norway and Belgium.

Twelve children aged nine and ten, with Special Educational Needs (SEN) from Rowan Gate Primary School also spent time on campus, with third year BA SEN & Inclusion students learning with the University’s multisensory equipment. Using technology and mobile devices, the students and pupils brought to life popular children’s story ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’.

Second Year BA SEN Inclusion student Laura Wells said: “We’ve developed a sensory experience based on the book the children have been learning about in class. This kind of experience is valuable as it stimulates the children’s minds, developing on their in class learning. For example, reading and discussing a book during a class, then creating a learning experience using technology, sounds, smells and tactile resources can really bring the world created by the author to life; as we have done here on our very own bear hunt.

“While studying at the University, I’ve been involved in many practical teaching sessions with local school pupils, this hands on experience is one of the reasons I picked this course; once I’ve graduated, I plan to go on to study for a PGCE so I can become a teacher within a special school.”

Helen Caldwell, Senior Lecturer in Education (Primary Computing) commented: “Teaching students on our courses to creatively blend physical exploration of the world, alongside the use of technology and interactive learning experiences, helps to create great teachers of the future, ready to transform lives and inspire generations of young people. Blending learning and technology to explore the world is an exciting concept for teaching, one that enriches children’s experiences.

“Through the DLab research project, we’re this notion a stage further. Taking an active learning experience and developing digital resources to exchange with pupils from other countries offers all involved a memorable learning experience and builds shared intercultural understandings.”

Check out the Wild writing video created by Standens Barn Primary School here:

And the video of students designing multisensory environments here: