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In The Works: New Software for Teaching Orienteering

We are in the process of finding a new software solution for teaching orienteering and

to use when hosting orienteering events. Our current results software, Easygec, has been our go-to for its simple design and implementation.

We feed courses and runner IDs into Easygec so it can accurately assess each runner’s performance. Once runners complete an orienteering course, they scan their timing card at a reader feeding into a computer running Easygec. Easygec reads the data from the timing card and compares it to the course inventory. The program will display a happy face for a correct course completion, or an unhappy one if there were mistakes in the checkpoint order. This is particularly useful for P.E. classes with young children for whom simple, easy, teacher-independent feedback is important to keep the activities running smoothly.

The cheering sound and smiley face display encourages the kids to try another course.

Quick, simple feedback effectively keeps kids active and excited.

We are also able to analyze the results after an event. For example, we can identify the fastest times by course, which we have used to make podium placements for the Cambridge Public Schools’ Middle School Championships in early June. We have also provided PE teachers with a list of students who were not successful at a course, in order to pay attention to them at the next class and make sure they are properly supported.

While crafting our curriculum to make it easy for others to teach orienteering, we want to improve the functionality of our software to provide more learning opportunities for new orienteers and make it easy for other programs to teach. We want to make any new software available on as many different operating systems as possible so anyone can access those resources, given that Easygec currently only operates on Windows computers.

This summer, we will be exploring new possibilities for this goal in our new project: improving our results and live-feedback software!

Whether it be exploring existing options in the orienteering world we’re unaware of, or creating a new application from scratch, we are excited about the possibilities we can implement. Our top priorities are:

  • Keeping orienteering encouraging and fun for kids - we want to enhance Easygec’s feedback features - easy-to-understand graphics and fun sounds to engage and encourage young users.

  • Giving helpful feedback in real-time - we want our program to identify clearly what went wrong on an incomplete course, so we can help people learn.

This frowny face is the graphic that appears when the controls were visited in the wrong order or not all checkpoints were visited.

We'd like feedback to be more visible and intuitive so that kids can improve on their own without needing to ask for help straight away.

  • Give descriptive post-event analytics - this would be incredibly useful in P.E. classes where we can identify students who are successfully completing courses and to encourage success and healthy competition, while also being able to identify those who are struggling. In this way, future classes can be adjusted to provide more focused learning activities for all types of students.

As we dive into this project, we welcome collaboration with anyone interested in contributing. If you have any suggestions for ideas to explore, existing resources to consider, or connections to talk to and learn from, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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