Pupils from Hillside School celebrated the 21st anniversary of Blue Switch Day recently by geocaching at Woodroad Park, Cumnock.
Blue Switch Day is held on 2 May each year and recognises when the US Government ‘flipped the switch’ and made high-accuracy GPS available to everyone.
Our pupils had great fun using GPS technology on the Geocache app to search for two geocache treasures, which were just a short walk from their school. Schools across East Ayrshire will also be joining the celebrations by placing 21 new geocaches at significant cultural and heritage locations in their communities for everyone to explore.
This exciting geocaching project, which is delivered through the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership and organised by the Council’s Learning Outdoors Support team, will highlight special places of interest that are part of East Ayrshire’s coal mining heritage.
Willie White, Education Officer said: “Could there be a better way of demonstrating science, technology and maths combined in the real world than geocaching? Pupils understand the significance of these subjects through a fun outdoor activity; who doesn’t love finding hidden treasure. Using the free app on any phone to adventure out and find hidden places on your doorstep or all over the world, really opens the door to a lifetime of exploration and learning, but be warned it can be addictive.”
GPS (Global Positioning System) was first developed for use by the US military in the 1970’s and consisted of a network of satellites that could pinpoint locations on earth. Mathematician Gladys West was one of the hidden figures of GPS development and you can read more about her achievements
On 2 May 2000, the US Government made high-accuracy GPS available to everyone, changing technology and the way that we all live. It also paved the way for Geocaching with the first geocache being hidden on 3 May 2000 by Dave Ulmer, a computer consultant, near Portland, Oregon. From this early first game, geocaching has grown to become a worldwide movement. It is free to access with a phone, you just been to download the Geocache app, register an account and find your first geocache.
The photo shows three people, Teigan and Michael from Hillside School with their classroom assistant Mary McEwan.
Their class teacher Janet McKechnie and Alyson Conquer from the East Ayrshire Learning Outdoors Support Team also attended.