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Autonomous excursions using tablets and smartphones

Presented at EGU 2017 in Vienna, as interactive presentation (PICO)

Excursions and fieldworks are valuable components for geosciences education. However, field activities can be time consuming for teachers and pose a logistical challenge to fit in regular courses. Furthermore, the participation of students diminishes with group size in case of instructor-led outings. We are developing excursions that students can follow autonomously without a teacher present, using instructions, assignments and background information on tablets and smartphones. The goal of this approach is to increase the level of active participation, and to reduce logistical and time table issues.

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Autonomous excursions using tablets and smartphones

  1. 1. Autonomous excursions using tablets and smartphones Wouter Marra1*, Marin Groothengel1, Liesbeth van de Grint2, Derek Karssenberg1 & Esther Stouthamer1 1 Dep. Physical Geography 2 Centre for Education and Learning (COLUU) * Faculty of Geosciences Funding Stimuleringsregeling open en online onderwijs (OCW)
  2. 2. 2 Mallorca, UCL France, Universiteit Utrecht Apennines, Imperial College Alsea (Oregon), Waldport High Schoo Fieldwork and excursions
  3. 3. Fieldwork and excursions Valuable, but… • logistical challenge • participation diminishes with group size Goals: • increase active participation • reduce logistical issues
  4. 4. Re-design of excursion about Geology and Landscape • Digital excursion guide, maps • Location-based assignments • Data collection • More discussion between students 4
  5. 5. Extended presentation 5
  6. 6. 6 Mallorca, UCL France, Universiteit Utrecht Apennines, Imperial College Alsea (Oregon), Waldport High Schoo Fieldwork and excursions
  7. 7. Learning goals and excursion forms Kent et al. (1997) / Journal of Geography in Higher Education. 7
  8. 8. Case: Excursion Landscape & Geology 8
  9. 9. Case: Excursion Landscape & Geology • Connect landscape elements to subsurface • 80 – 100 students • By bike, about 4-5 hours • In groups of 2 students, within timeslot of several weeks 9
  10. 10. Case: Excursion Landscape & Geology We developed a bike-excursion about the landscape and geology in the vicinity of our University. Such excursion was on the wish-list for several years, but posed a logistical challenge for the group of about 80 students in the available timeslot. In our approach, students had a time-window of two weeks in which they could finish the excursion in groups of 2. 8-Inch tablets with water- and shock-proof cases were available for this excursion. 10
  11. 11. Used Apps - IZI-travel Excursion guide with route, images, videos and text - ESRI Collector Collect geo-data, photos, sync online - Pdfmaps View georeferenced maps 11
  12. 12. Used Apps For the excursion we used three apps: 1) IZI-Travel for providing the route, spoken navigation instructions, spoken explanations at stops, location-related images, assignments as text, and multiple-choose questions. 2) PDF-Maps for providing geo-referenced maps. 3) ESRI Collector which the students used to digitize polygons on a map, and to collect geo- referenced photos with explanation. These data were answers to assignments and were later used in a tutorial on campus. 12
  13. 13. App: Izi.Travel 13 - Excursion guide with route, images, videos and text - Explanation / navigation with audio - Short Quizzes
  14. 14. App: pdfmaps / Avenza maps 14 - View georeferenced maps with own GPS location - Geo-pdf or geo-tiff
  15. 15. App: Esri Collector 15 - Collect photos, lines, points, etc. with location - Data available online (ArcGIS online) for follow-up assignments App Data in ArcGIS online
  16. 16. Results: Students perception • Very positive about the apps • Group size of 2 seems to be ideal • Some difficulties using Collector at first usage 16 1 2 3 4 5 It’s a benefit that we could carry out the excursion inividually It’s a benefit that we could carry out the excursion in our own time I was actively involved in the excursion I could have done the excursion better on my own The excursion was a valuable addition to the course Students view of the excursion 1 2 3 4 5 I like to use a tablet for an excursion again I like to use Esri Collector again I like to use izi.Travel again I like to use pdfmaps again Students view of using apps
  17. 17. Results: Teacher’s experience • Students made good use of multiple-choice questions • Follow up-assignment is valuable: • For feedback • Stronger commitment • Grade field activities • Lack of discussion with teacher • More discussion between students • Use of apps valuable for organizing excursion for large groups 17
  18. 18. Results The assignments where students had to collect data, and the small group size (pairs) increased the level of active participation. The use of a final tutorial on campus was important for the autonomous excursion, as it gave students the opportunity to discuss their observations and questions with their teacher. The developed teaching materials are available online to use and adapt for others. Parts could be useful for other universities and schools in the vicinity of the excursion location. 18
  19. 19. Conclusions • Tablets and smartphones valuable for autonomous excursions • Small groups results in high amount of participation • Digital data collection important for follow-up and grading 19