Can classroom response systems (CRS) be deployed outside to aid the teaching of fieldwork?

0029 ALTC 2009 Rod Cullen, Mark Langan, Robin Sen

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The Cloudworks Team
24 August 2009

ALT-C 2009 Session: This Cloud has been set up to aggregate live blogs, comments, discussion and links for this session.

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  • Rod Cullen, Mark Langan, Robin Sen, Manchester Met 
  • Going to go outside and experience CRS system as a student
  • Used on one field trip, though great idea, had a go and though nice idea to canvass opinions, but interested in if useful in practice for teaching fieldwork.
  • CRS systems relatively new in UK HE, not mainstream anyway
  • Fies and Marshall (2006) can promote learning if coupled with appropriate pedagogical method
  • Siau et al (2006) Significantly improve interactivity in the classroom
  • Roschelle et al (2004) Provides for easy frequent formative assessment for knowledge - harder to design question for higher-level skills, need to design clever questions
  • Feedback elicited from whole class (not just keen individuals)
  • Caldwell (2007) Tutors can evaluate the understanding of the needs of a whole class
  • Fuller et al (2006) Learners enjoy experience of fieldwork
  • Provide experience of complex systems and processes that can't be duplicated in the classroom
  • Movement towards designing learning to be active rather than passive. Really hard to run fieldtrip that's passive
  • Simm & David (2002) Evidience small group work more effective than whole class exercises
  • Interactive, rish, challenging, experience of practical skill
  • Challenges: expensive, time-limited, logistics, as tutor focus on organisation, so difficult to give students chance to experiment - tell them what to do, so complete task and have data, so students become task focused, following instructions without thinking deeply

After the presentation, we then went out and got to use the system in practice outside. Questions including estimating percentage of an area that was bare ground, measuring the angle of the top of a tree, saying what species we thought the tree was etc. Mixture of multiple choice, numerical and free text questions. Especially interesting for the estimation questions being able to instantly see the large range of different answers.

Technical set up involved tablet PC plus the units. Transparent plastic bags apparently worked fine when the weather was bad! Rod said that it was quite stressful from a technical point of view in terms of getting everythign to work. Also important to note that Rod and Mark ran the session together - think it would be difficult for one person to do by themself.

Juliette Culver
15:53 on 8 September 2009 (Edited 18:40 on 8 September 2009)

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Juliette Culver
6:40pm 8 September 2009


Really fun and inspiring session - thank you!

Gráinne Conole
6:48am 9 September 2009


Sounds interesting - I suppect you will soon be able to get an iphone app that does something of this sort, maybe there already is one. Was shown the remote app for the iphone at the weekend for remotely controlling music on a laltop/computer - seems like magic!

Juliette Culver
7:18am 9 September 2009


I wondered about that, but I suspect that the sort of places that they do fieldwork there isn't any wireless or phone signal. Though think you can generate your own wireless from netbooks these days?

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