Children’s use of iPads in outdoor environmental education programs

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Kacoroski, J., K. Liddicoat, and S. Kerlin. 2016. Applied Environmental Education & Communication, 15(4):301–311.

doi: 10.1080/1533015X.2016.1237903


This exploratory study aimed to understand how use of digital technology, specifically iPads, impacts the learning experiences of children during outdoor environmental education programs. iPads were integrated into water quality education programs for fifth grade students from an urban area. Qualitative observations were analyzed to document students’ attitudes, behaviors, and comprehension of material. The seven themes that emerged from the data — reaction to mobile devices, group interactions, nature prevails, digital natives versus digital immigrants, introduction of mobile devices, mobile devices in the hands of children, and instruments for learning — offer new insights into how children interact with nature while using digital technologies and suggest best practices for technology integration in environmental education.