Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM
THE DEVELOPMENT OF PORTABLE AUDIO/VISUAL SYSTEMS FOR INSTRUCTIONAL USE DURING TRAVEL TIME TO FIELD STOPS
Time spent in vehicles in route to field stops is unavoidable on field trips. Depending on the distance from the departure point to the field stop and the duration of the excursion, travel time to field stops can be hours or days. Bowling Green State Universitys GeoJourney and the University of Georgia Interdisciplinary Field Program are entirely field-based introductory interdisciplinary geology expeditions lasting 8-9 weeks that travel 13000 miles by van to national and state parklands across the United States. The itineraries for these programs are designed to use field stops as the basis for teaching introductory-level geology courses. The total time students participating on these programs spend in vehicles (13000 miles/60mph=216.67hrs) is equivalent to or exceeds the total number of contact hours a student would spend in a classroom, attending class with a full-time course load on a college campus during a sixteen week semester. Historically, the time spent transporting students from a departure point to the academic setting has rarely been used for formalized instruction. As a result, students frequently engage in activities that are irrelevant to the expedition's academic purpose. Therefore time in route is essentially wasted time. The most common application of electronics for instructional purposes during travel time is the use of hand-held radios between vehicles of multi-vehicle caravans. To make efficient use of travel time, we have developed a portable audio/visual system using a flat LCD computer screen mounted to a vertically placed tension bar set in front of the first row of a passenger van. The VGA cable from the LCD screen is connected to a laptop computer which is operated by the occupant in the front passenger seat. Using the laptop, introductory lectures and presentations can be shown on the mounted LCD screen using PowerPoint software. The laptop also has a DVD drive which allows instructional videos to be presented on the LCD screen while in route. Audio from the laptop is played over the vehicles existing speaker system by using an FM transmitter plugged into the headphone jack of the laptop and broadcast over a locally unused FM radio station. The system was designed to be portable because many field programs use rental vehicles that are returned at the end of the expedition.