I can find Yellowstone National Park without a map. Just go north-northwest for two days until you hit it—either east of the Wind River Range or west.
This article from The New Atlantis discusses ways in which GPS makes people worse driver and navigators.
Aside from the growing mounds of anecdotal evidence, there is some research to support the idea that GPS navigation weakens driving ability, and that, as a 2008 review by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put it, “the mere presence of a navigation system in a vehicle might encourage increasingly frequent and unnecessary use of the system, including browsing through lists of attractions.” However, most of this research only compares different types of navigation systems to each other (and to using a paper map during the actual act of driving); as of yet, there seems to be no research comparing GPS navigation to internalized navigation, nor are there any comprehensive statistical studies on the effects of GPS on accident rates. But one 2008 survey found that GPS devices had contributed to 300,000 crashes in the United Kingdom, and over a million drivers veering dangerously while following GPS directions. And a 2007 Dutch study found that GPS devices increased traffic accident casualties, and “purposely put the driver into a situation of unacceptable social behavior.”But I mentioned geocaching. This piece from the Durango Herald makes the case that it brings kids outdoors:
During the last three years, interest in “Trail Trekkers” – a children’s hiking program offered by Durango’s Parks and Recreation Department – had cratered. John Robinette, supervisor of youth recreation, was flummoxed.“When I started 10 years ago, the hiking program was really popular,” he said. “But then last year, almost no children signed up. We had to end it. It just wasn’t cost-effective.”
Through seminars and literature on continuing education in parks and recreation, Robinette learned about geocaching.“I bought the starter kit, went to the website,” he said. “We decided to offer a six-week geocaching program for kids three days a week. Three of four sessions totally filled up.”
Robinette said the program had been a great success.
“Kids nowadays, they want a little bit more from the outdoors,” he said. “Some of them had their own GPS devices. We’re definitely going to offer it again next summer, and maybe this fall.”
I admit to mixed feelings there—should you need the gadget?—but the old rule of teaching is that you have to start where your students mentally are.