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Using technology in fieldwork: practitioner’s perspectives and transformative experiences Brian Whalley – Sheffield Derek France – Chester Julian Park.

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Presentation on theme: "Using technology in fieldwork: practitioner’s perspectives and transformative experiences Brian Whalley – Sheffield Derek France – Chester Julian Park."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using technology in fieldwork: practitioner’s perspectives and transformative experiences Brian Whalley – Sheffield Derek France – Chester Julian Park – Reading Katharine Welsh – Chester Alice Mauchline – Reading Enhancement of Fieldwork Learning Project

2 Change In the last 40 years, what has changed? In aviation? In the way of the world? In people's behaviour? Internet, computing, ICT In an increasingly complicated, complex world Fieldwork can, and should, reflect this. Problem solving (PBL, IBL) is one way to integrate some aspects of this complexity into educaton

3 In Education Use of ICT – Web and Web 2.0 –But how good are the ICT skills of graduates in the real world? Does the 70 – 30 'principle' still apply? –70% of modules have assessment of: 70% exam and 30% CA/non-exam (usually a term paper or essays)

4 Learning experiences NOT: ‘pile ‘em high and lecture ‘em long’ –And then examine them! Sage on the stage from this; the lecture? Traveling scholar and student The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco (The Sage of Bologna?) (The Sage on the Page?)

5 Fieldwork is for: Development of observational skills Facilitation of experiential learning Encouragement of student responsibility for learning Development of analytical skills Provision of a taste for real research Kindling a respect for the environment Developing personal skills Lessening barriers between staff and students (Gold, et al, 1991, Teaching Geography in Higher Education, Chapter 3)

6 and yet, Fieldwork is too often Look and tell Look and see (and note) Measure a few things and process data –Often with 19Cequipment Give a presentation, write an essay, report And challenged because it is 'costly' And may not be as effective as it could be

7 Towards Fieldwork 3.0 Emergence via Better Alignment Using Portable hardware (sensors via USB) Web 2 (hardware and 'apps') Web 3 – the Semantic Web Student needs and expectations Delivering Real Learning Experiences Appropriate assessment and feedback Cognitive psychology and Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

8 Trial and error - how can we provide good learning experiences? 'You know what a learning experience is? A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.’ (Douglas N Adams, 1992) Photo: Chris Ogle How to avoid the panic? Trial and error - how we can provide good learning experiences.

9 And, inevitably: Skills (and employability) What skills? Traditional typology 'Professor Snape's' perspective, 'in today's competitive job market, the pressure is on students to obtain a ‘good degree’ '. (Higgins, Hartley, and Skelton, 2001) This begs the question: ‘what makes a good degree?’ and thus, how might it be (best) delivered? What is a graduate in 'topic x' ?

10 Enhancement of Fieldwork By setting out better aligned programs (ie student involved and ‘directed’) fieldwork By using technology in various ways, especially ‘smartphones’ and tablets/iPads By incorporating skills within these as well as academic attributes

11 We can now do this as Many/most students have smartphones than can use ‘apps’ (although not all students can afford them yet, USA as well as UK; but iPads per group can be loaned) Internet/3G connectivity (Web 2) helps People and groups can be linked Use of technology in the field hands learning to students

12 'Emergence' in fieldwork: designing better fieldwork experiences covering: Defending fieldwork & providing Value for Money Techniques for problems solving (for students) Producing Real Life Experiences (employability) Dissertation(capstone) preparation and training Assessment, Feedback, Criterion referencing Feedback provision on learning experiences

13 Points Employability RLE – real life experiences What we have tended to do on Fts What we should be doing Why emergence (what it means) Fitting with educational schemas Assessment and feedback

14 Defending Fieldwork (Jenkins 1997) Rigorously review your department’s fieldwork programme Clearly integrate fieldwork into the whole degree programme Provide statements for peers on the value of fieldwork Get students to articulate what they have learnt from fieldwork Ensure there are demonstrable employability skills for students Demonstrate through research/ evaluation studies the effectiveness of your programme

15 Fieldwork We take it as read that students benefit but (cost effective) fieldwork Our project is to promote better student experiences with technology in fieldwork And that they become more digitally literate in the process

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17 Ethics Quality Education (Teaching) Use of equipment (mobiles, smartphones) ethical or green policies? REEs in manufacture Should we require students to use their own? Air Miles and carbon footprints? Dealing with people (Value for Money)

18 Howard Gardner The Disciplinary Mind The Synthesizing Mind The Creating Mind The Respectful Mind The Ethical Mind Gardner, H. 2007, Five Minds for the Future

19 6 Competencies students need to gain Competence – encouragement by challenge and remarks to achieve skills levels Confidence – promoting remarks to show themselves, and others, their achievements Critical thinking – which is what we have been wanting all along in 'Thinking skills’, used in problem solving Creativity – in what students do and how they do it Collaboration – bringing in team-working and ethics Commonality – of purpose, to achieve specified (and unspecified) objectives Curtiosity – being curious courteously (Kipling). Marcia Mentkowski Mihály Csíkszentmihályi

20 In fact, we tend to say …. ‘Yes, the students enjoyed it’ ‘We enjoyed it too’ and, after a few months.. ‘Same again for next year?’ ‘It is arguable that in geography, …fieldwork is intrinsic to the discipline …., yet I know of no controlled study of [its] effectiveness’ Donald Bligh 1973 (How) do we look at feedback from the field trip? Thinking specifically here of First year – bonding, basic skills, report writing and communication Second year using field trips for dissertation preparation, project planning, reporting Course revision to incorporate these aspects?

21 Theory into practise Using Maskall and Stokes (2008) Designing Effective Fieldwork for the Environmental and Natural Sciences Using ‘Preflights’ –(stuff done in advance; G. Novak, Whalley & Taylor 2008 ) Using work on Troublesome Knowledge Using employability skills and affordances Trying to provide better experiences and feedback Providing ‘value for money’ Being ethical

22 Fieldwork Positives: Students (mostly) tend to enjoy it Tutors too (if they believe in it!) Students should learn effectively from it (as well as) Remembering it and what they did (affective) Collaboration via teamwork Negatives: Can be costly (for whom? Institution, students) Is it Value for Money? (and Time and Effort?) Cost Utility Analysis : Cost Effectiveness Analysis

23 Learners Learning Activity Field Environment Intended Outcomes Acquisition of knowledge; Academic and social skills; Increased motivation Attitudes; progression Physical nature, location and Features; cultural context; available resources, data Information, instrumentation Needs, motives, social and interpersonal skills, Preferred learning styles, disability, Prior experience of fieldwork Learning styles or Thinking styles (Sternberg) Influences on learning, after Maskall and Stokes, 2008

24 Learning (after Beetham 2002) acquiring skills constructing knowledge and understanding developing values participating Student-centred Constructivism Activity based Experiential Communities of practice Using digital tools Using digital resources Using digital etiquette Using digital communications media

25 Using Ron Oliver’s schema

26 River Discharge Study Beach and Dune Study Lab. Analysis and Compilation Sampling Beach Sampling Dunes River Velocity measurements River cross profile measurements Download GPS data analysis and section plotting Calculate velocity data Combine data Data analysis Several groups (working independently) Comparison of between-group results and report writing Vegetation surveys (with key and photos on netbook) Beach-dune profile surveys (GPS + Netbook) Field Lab Photographs Micrographs Size analysis Download GPS data Combine data Combine with satellite images + Other reports etc Report Writing and Submission [ podcasts - digital reporting - vidcasts ] Pre-field trip preparation Project alignment

27 Linking technology (smartphones and tablets) to fieldwork Is now possible The limitation is now instructors’ imagination (Not ease of use, battery life, applications etc)

28 Trip space Team Space Personal space Knowledge space Other Personal space Educational Spaces … lab, home, library …. Student + Computer (desktop, laptop, ‘ netbook ’ ) Student information environment Rich Internet Applications PLE Field space In the field

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30 Helen Beetham 2011

31 Margueritte Koole's DLS, framework model

32 Netbook/iPad etc WiFi/3G/Bluetooth Apps Cloud


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