‘Won’t my iPad get wet?!’ Moving a school-based Outdoor Education program into the 21st Century.

Mr David Howard1

1St Kevins College

The world is changing. The natural world is under pressure, digital technologies are creating different ways to connect and young people are spending more time indoors.

Is Outdoor Education moving with the times or sitting under a rock?

Teaching young people in the Outdoors has been happening for millennia from the tribal communities of the Amazon to the nomadic people of Northern Europe. Australia is also no stranger to this idea. The Indigenous culture views connection to the land as not only a necessity, but is deeply embedded in the spirit of these people.

We are now living in the digital age where we are now more connected than ever before. All of human understanding can now be accessed on a device in our pockets, we can talk to loved ones on the other side of the globe at a click of a button and astronauts are uploading YouTube videos from Space.

Has Outdoor Education evolved? Have we arrived in the 21st Century? Or are we trying to put it off?

St Kevin’s College, Melbourne has a long tradition of Outdoor Education. Over the past few years it has been striving to bring our philosophy into the 21st century. This session aims to explore what has been done and what needs to be done to make our Adventure programs relevant and engaging to our 21st Century students.


The Outdoor Education Program at St Kevin’s College, Melbourne provides Outdoor Adventure experiences for 1700 students, 100 College teaching staff, 18 Victorian destinations, 11 interstate destinations and 1 overseas experience per year.

Since taking the helm 3 years ago, David Howard (Head of Outdoor Education) has been striving to think differently about Outdoor Education and to bring it’s philosophy into the 21st Century.

Since completing his Outdoor Leadership BA (Hons) degree form the University of Cumbria, he has worked for a number of different organisations in Australia and overseas. From bushwalking programs along the Great Ocean Road to overseas immersion programs.

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