Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 10:05 AM
A MOBILE PLATFORM FOR STANDARDS-ALIGNED, SELF-DIRECTED FIELD TRIPS
Significant value remains in putting students on outcrop, despite budgetary and liability concerns at K-12 and higher levels. The prevalence of increasingly sophisticated mobile devices within student populations facilitates developing applications that present students with interactive and immersive field experiences, and provide instructors with classroom oversight. For this purpose, we have developed the Self-Guided Tour mobile platform (SGT). The SGT is a GPS collector augmented with standards-aligned content and with user-facing questions that are tailored to the content. The result is an interactive guide that uses a series of questions to lead users through an examination of the important features (e.g., scientific; historical) of a given area. When a user walks near a locality that has been loaded into the application, a written or oral question is posed that prompts the user to observe aspects of their immediate surroundings. An incorrect answer to the question encourages additional observation. Correct answers lead to more questions, until all of the questions (and thus all of the content) related to that location has been addressed. The application then directs the user toward the next predetermined location. A transect through the Fairfield Osborn Preserve near Petaluma, California (managed by Sonoma State University) was chosen as an initial test of the SGT concept. Scientific and historical content related to specific locations along the route was programmed in to the application, and a series of relevant questions were loaded. A second test involving K-12 students is being devised. While the SGT application was envisioned as an asset for classroom use, the platform is user-driven and does not require external direction from a teacher or guide. Rather, users can allow the application to guide them through the area. Moreover, users can populate the platform with their own content to generate unique field experiences. Should a teacher choose, the creation of a field experience can be the goal of an exercise, with students generating the content themselves. The SGT concept represents the first phase in a broader goal of bringing the field into the classroom. Subsequent phases will center on virtual experiences, involving 3D scenarios using cinema-quality digital assets.