As many of the schools we visited had access to IPads or other tablets and many children in secondary schools have smart phones, we thought a list of apps for going outside with would be useful. Many of these apps are free so please do take a look!
Leaf Snap UK
This App was designed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution, and is supported by the National History Museum so the content is really good.
It is well worth a look at, as it uses visual recognition software to identify the tree species that leaves come from. The app lets you both pick leaves from outside and bring them in to the classroom to take pictures, if you don’t want your school tablets going outside. We thought it could be used well as part of a nature scavenger hunt.
Or you can take pictures outside with the leaves still attached to the tree! The app also has facts about all the trees you may identify and lots of pictures. The app now also includes identification games.
This app could be used really well in a leaf scavenger hunt, or if you wanted to make your own school spotter sheets!
For more information: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/identify-nature/leafsnap-uk-app.html
This app has been developed by the Forestry Commission and gives details about any Forestry Commission sites you may have nearby. We thought this one may be pretty useful for planning visits. It also gives you a ‘forest in your pocket’ with common tree identifiers and 3D tree illustrations, so even if you’re not off on an adventure to a forest, you can still use it for identification in your school grounds.
It also happens to be free, so why not have ago! More information at https://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-8ejfyr
Here is a list of all the features:
- Site directions, facilities and things to do
- Details on Forest Holiday and Camping in the Forest locations
- Event listing at your local woodland
- Downloadable PDF trail maps
- One click contact information
- UK common tree identifier
- Unique 3D tree illustrations of each tree, leaf, bark and seed
- NEW Facebook and Twitter feeds
- NEW Instagram gallery
- Chosen by The Sunday Times as one of the top 500 apps in the world
WT Nature Finder
This app is also useful for finding exciting places to go, but also for identifying species and their habitats, so fits into the KS1 and KS2 curriculum nicely. The habitat information may be useful to secondary school students also. It also provides information on events on at local nature reserves.
More info at https://sussexwildlifetrust.org.uk/discover/good-stuff/nature-finder-app
Key features include:
- Map and list of nature reserves with search and geo-location
- Map and list of events with search and geo-location
- Ability to favourite trusts, reserves, events and species
- Directory of all Wildlife Trusts with contact details and ability to donate by text
- Information on more than 900 UK species and habitats
- Ability to move app to SD card
Now this app is our absolute favourite, though it is the only one on the list that is not free unfortunately. It is actually a bundle of 2 apps- Chirp! And Chirp-o-matic. It’s basically Shazam for birds.
Chirp-o-Matic lets you record any bird song you here, and gives you results on what the bird species is most likely to be. You can then research about this bird on Chirp! the complimenting app, which is all about learning bird identification. Chirp! gives a list of the birds you find in the UK and once you click on it, gives information on the species and example bird calls. You can then quiz yourself on the calls as well at different levels. The two apps interlink so once you record a bird on Chirp-o-Matic you can click on info which will take you to Chirp!. You can even save the recordings of birds you’ve made for later, and all the analysis of calls is done off line so you don’t need to be connected to the internet.
We really like this app and it is so intuitive to use, though you have to pay for it, we downloaded the bundle of both apps for £4.99 (in 2017)
Tree ID app from the woodland trust
This app is really good as it introduces identification keys in a very intuitive way, this means it is a really easy and user friendly introduction to classification. It has quite detailed information so would be good for secondary schools or an interested KS2 class.
It also lets you look at pictures of common UK native and non-native trees, with facts about them and lets you log if you’ve seen it.
The app is free for iphone and android and we really liked it!