EXPANDING ACCESS TO FIELD-BASED LEARNING THROUGH THE USE OF MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES AND MIXED-ABILITY STUDENT GROUPING (Invited Presentation)
Our GEOPATH project “Engaging Students in Inclusive Geoscience Field Experiences via Onsite-Remote Partnerships” is working to promote an alternative philosophy to this physical prerequisite to study in the field. We present an inclusively-designed instructional method that focuses on the abilities of students as they perform authentic field investigations and research through mixed-ability pairing. This project engages students in collaborative field exercises by using the latest cloud-based and mobile technologies that enables real-time communication and data collection by students separated by physical barriers in the field environment. Our approach embodies elements of constructionism along with the new connectivist theory of learning in the digital age.
A preliminary outcome from the first year of this project reaffirms that inclusively-designed field instruction creates more deliberate exploration and application of content for all students. By including everyone’s diverse perspectives and abilities, students are free to focus on the science and participate in a community of learning void of the social barriers of bias and stereotype. This presentation will discuss the project’s initial findings, including the value of using internet-based technology use in the field; the multiple perspectives of personal mobility; the impact of mixed-ability grouping; and the importance of daily reflection during field instruction.