DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES THAT ENHANCE TEACHING AND LEARNING IN CLASSROOM AND FIELD ENVIRONMENTS (Invited Presentation)
Contemporary instructional designs utilize laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices to enable students to investigate geoscience topics and concepts through guided inquiry. Many exercises use web-hosted imagery and information through interfaces such as Street View, GigaPan, and Google Earth. Exercises can be both summative and formative, or as components of a scaffolded set of learning modules. Preliminary assessment indicates improved short-tem learning gains, though longer-term learning is yet to be determined.
Digital technologies have precipitated major changes in field mapping and data collection. Paper-based field mapping is no longer the standard, with geoscience professionals routinely using a ruggedized tablet along with field book (possibly digital) and geologic compass. Digital field devices also have enabled community (group) mapping. No longer does a field geologist work in isolation, but through a team using web-linked mobile devices that communicate in real-time. This enables a group of students (or professionals) to see each other’s field data in real time. Group discussions need not wait until evening sessions at basecamp; field-based questions can be addressed and resolved during the field session.
Finally, recent work suggests that real-time, technology-facilitated communication among students can bring the outdoor learning environment to students with disabilities (SWD). Field settings present additional challenges to SWD because of accessibility and other issues, some of which can be addressed through real-time mobile communications, wearable devices, and data links. This has the potential for improved recruitment and retention of SWD in the geosciences.