Our Weekend with London Youth Games

If you've heard of us before, you'll know all about our app. But if not, here's a quick rundown. Our founder and CEO, Josh, has worked within the sport of orienteering for his entire career, including delivering fun new courses to schools. However, over time he recognised there was untapped potential in the sport, and with childhood obesity on the rise, he came up with a solution.

The Outdoor Classroom App is set up to support any lesson, but in a more active way. Pupils locate plaques set around their school grounds and travel to each stop where they can scan the plaque to reveal a question or activity set by the teacher. Pupils must respond to the challenge before moving to the next stop. This way, pupils are able to get in more steps, enjoy fresh air outdoors and still learn without taking away time from their normal school lessons.

A great recent example of this is Springwell School's 'Parts of Plants' course, where pupils were encouraged to observe different plants for their science lesson and use physical, real life plants in front of them to answer their questions - much more fun than looking at pictures on the board! The app also provides detailed real-time reporting of the pupils' progress, documenting their answers, lesson attainment, the distances they travel and more. All excellent features for evidencing learning and physical activity at parents evenings, for Ofsted reviews, even to apply for funding!

So, with you all caught up, let us introduce our newest app: Explore Outdoors! Inspired by the immense positive feedback we've had from our schools, we've been working away at a new opportunity to get communities equally active, to further spread the positive health benefits throughout the nation.

Working much like The Outdoor Classroom app, Explore Outdoors is an orienteering-inspired app that takes users through their local green spaces, engaging communities more in their environment, and even learning a thing or two along the way. There are infinite possibilities for the public facing app, from trails focused on local histories, children's book trails or educational trails for local clubs like Scouts or Ramblers. SO we were overjoyed to exhibit the new app at this year's London Youth Games Finals Festival on 1st July.

The Finals Festival is a huge event, held for the first time at The Olympic Park this year. It offers an unbeatable opportunity for teams from schools all over London and the boroughs to compete for those championship titles in the famous buildings that hosted their respective sports during the London Olympics in 2012.

We were stationed at The Copper Box Arena, where our course started, and we were delighted by the interest in our app. We ran a long and short trail so users could decide exactly what was right for their group. Families with small children chose the shorter trails, while some of the athletes competing in the competition tried their hand at the long trail. The challenges set when each plaque was scanned were all centred around the London Olympics, London Youth Games and the Olympic Park itself.

It was a fantastic way to experience the park, especially for non-locals, like some of our northern team members who'd never visited the park before! When you're searching for plaques, you unwittingly become significantly more invested in the area, noticing more exciting elements of your surroundings than you might have if you'd just been on a simple walk. The added element of healthy competition, both in travelling the trail the fastest or getting as many correct answers as possible, makes for an excellent and free activity for participants of all ages and abilities.

It was a wonderful way to exhibit to local authorities and sports leads just how much we can positively impact a community with Explore Outdoors. Our state of the art data capturing fed into a live leaderboard, celebrating all of our participants and their scores. Admin of the public app have access to all of this information, meaning local authorities and sports leads can gain valuable insight into the activity in their community and evidence progress.

Overall, the weekend was an absolute dream come true for all of us here at The Outdoor Classroom. We're unbelievably excited for the future with Explore Outdoors, and can't wait to support the London Youth Games again next year!

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