GSA Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, USA - 2017

Paper No. 164-3
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


HADDOCK, Amanda, Geology, Dickinson College, 5 North Orange Street, Carlisle, PA 17013, THATCHER, Sean, Department of Engineering Sciences and Physics, The City University of New York, College of Staten Island, 2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island, NY 10314, O'BRIEN, Mathew, Geoscience, University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, AB AB T2N 1N4, Canada, VINSON, Grant, Earth & Environmental Sciences, Michigan State University, 288 Farm Lane, East Lansing, MI 48824, TODD, Anna C., Geological Sciences, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80310, PRITCHARD, Caroline E., Earth and Environmental Sciences, Lehigh University, 1 W. Packer Ave, Bethlehem, PA 18015, SULLIVAN, Betty, Geology, Lake Superior State University, 650 West Easterday Avenue, Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783, MILLER, Leah Z., Department of Physical Sciences, Tarrant County College, 828 W Harwood Rd, Hurst, TX 76054, THOMAS, Christian, Department of Geological Sciences, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45710, KILPACK, Will, Earth & Space Exploration, Arizona State University, 550 East Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85287, MORRIS, Malea, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506, WHITMEYER, Steven, Geology & Environmental Science, James Madison University, 395 S. HIgh St, MSC 6903, Harrisonburg, VA 22807 and ATCHISON, Christopher L., School of Education and Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, 511E TDC, Cincinnati, OH 45221,

Field notebooks are an instrumental tool for geologists. However, they pose challenges for students with physical disabilities, mainly related to limited fine motor skills or because of the need for assistive mobility devices to navigate field sites. Students with diverse physical abilities cannot always effectively handle the pencil and paper approach to typical field notebooks. A GEOPATH project led by a team of researchers associated with the International Association for Geoscience Diversity and funded by the National Science Foundation brought together a cohort of undergraduates with and without physical disabilities examined the use of iPads and other mobile technologies to record field observations on projects ranging from stratigraphy to field mapping. These trials occurred in northern Arizona in 2016 and western Ireland in 2017. Throughout each of the projects, several advantages and disadvantages of electronic field notes were observed, ranging from functionality to cost. The benefits included rain resistant notes that were stored and shared in the cloud, the ability to annotate images to immediately add to notes, carrying fewer tools due to available apps, and GPS services to accurately determine exact outcrop locations. Several disadvantages were also noted, such as the cost of the iPad and apps, battery life, sun glare, and the technological competency of users new to utilizing mobile devices. Despite these disadvantages, this novel approach to a classic field task successfully improved student engagement, allowing them to equally participate alongside their peers.
  • Differences between traditional and digital field notebooks for inclusive geoscience courses_final.pdf (4.5 MB)