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Using Head-Cams for data collection by Nicola Bedall-Hill

Pros and Cons of head cams for collecting data during field trips

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Gill Clough
2 December 2009

Nicola Bedall-Hill gave an interesting presentation on the data she collected during week-long field trips. Fascinating video-clips. Investigating the use of teaching and personal mobile devices in case-based fieldwork settings.  Here she’s going to talk mostly about her use of headcams for data collection.

Looking at stories of networks of learning that are going on during the field trips. Complex story – mixed age-groups, mixed ethnicities. They end up living together for a week. Intense experience.

Focus on boundary objects – these can be abstract or material. They retain a common identity across contexts but are flexible enough to meet the differing needs.

Q: example of a boundary object and it’s identity across contexts – what are the differing contexts?

Boundary objects – may be brought in from outside. However with the teaching devices, they are brought in and can be quite a challenge in itself. So like their mobile phone might be a boundary object that they bring in and use, say to take pictures. Easy to use unlike the PDA that they were given and have to adapt to.

She is extremely impressed by the headcam as a data collection instrument.


  • Excellent sounds and picture quality
  • Reduced recording of faces
  • Increased recording of device and interactions with it
  • Water/weatherproof
  • Students did not notice using it
  • Log recording time and easy to download/use straight away (avi)
  • Attention/event is not selected by the researchers


  • Broke on 2nd trip (needed backup)
  • Lots of footage to watch (can make you queasy watching walking) but can tag
  • Hard to get correct angle of view
  • Can’t see exactly what is happening on the screen

Extra content

Embedded Content


Jocelyn Wishart
4:26pm 2 December 2009

Just quickly to let you know I cycled past another cyclist wearing a digital video camera on his helmet  on the cycle path between the hotel and the Alpitze this afternoon .

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