SUPPORTING EXPERIENTIAL FIELD-BASED LEARNING: INTERFACES AND ARCHIVES

Claire Jarvis

Abstract


This proposal sought to develop experiential field-based learning in two ways, both involving mobile digital learning equipment and resources. Firstly the work acknowledges that there may be times when less closely supervised enquiry based learning can on occasion leave students exposed and frustrated and perhaps less competent than when they began. Identifying one such situation, the use of relatively unfamiliar field equipment while away from standard forms of support, we researched the development and structuring of a library of supportive podcasts to fill this gap that could be used across a range of field-oriented disciplines. Evaluation, conducted through the use of reflective diaries and focus groups, identified that all students thought the podcast reference library was a worthwhile exercise, of particular appeal to students with a more visual approach to learning. Notably, the podcasts appear to foster a confident and independent attitude to learning. Secondly, we sought to develop strategies to bridge learning from University to field by developing a geo-tagging system that enables students to refer to digital journal resources by locational context, via a mapping interface in the field. The latest version of this tool, which makes use of the more recently available Google Earth customizable api, appears to have been more successful that an initial version of the tool prototyped within a GIS system although further evaluation is ongoing. The students’ strong preference for researching readings from home rather than University was an important reason behind the relative interest associated with the later Google-based tool.


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