Monday 27 January 2014

​​A case study written by members of the University of Northampton’s Library and Learning Services team and School of Science and Technology, has been highly commended by the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA).

The case study, entitled Learning across contexts – mobile for fieldwork in Environmental Sciences, was published in a mobile learning best practice guide released by UCISA on January 23. The guide provides examples of good practice in using mobiletechnologies to enhance learning, and the content was collated by UCISA’s Digital Skills and Development Group Academic Support sub-group .

The featured University of Northampton case study was trialled on two environmental science field trips, to Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve in December 2011 and to Stonehenge in 2012. For both trips the tutor set up a shared blog space in the virtual learning environment, and students were asked to record their findings on site, using one mobile device to capture visual media, audio and numerical data. The mobile devices replaced the need for paper notebooks, which can be time intensive, weather dependant and limiting. Overall, the aim was to encourage students to create as well as consume data.

Adel Gordon, Learning Technologist at the University of Northampton explained: “This award recognises the focus on the use of mobile technology to enhance learning. It demonstrates the excellent outputs which can be achieved through collaboration between the Learning Technology Team and academic staff, and highlights the innovative approach the University takes to teaching and learning. As part of the preparations for the move to Waterside, the Learning Technology Team will be building on this success with more case studies that cover the use of technology to enhance practice.”

The University of Northampton is building upon the work initiated by the case study with new projects. There is ongoing work in the Geography department, with Dr Naomi Holmes having received funding from the Vice-Chancellor’s Innovation Fund to provide mobile technology to students for field work. The students are utilising an app developed by EDINA called FieldTrip GB. Dr Holmes and Adel Gordon are also looking into pre-field work activities through the use of 3D imaging technology (Oculus Rift) with funding from the VC’s fund, in association with Dr Scott Turner (Computing).

For more information on the Case Study, visit the UCISA website.​​

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