Fieldwork is an important component of Higher Education in a number of subjects. As a Learning Space it provides good educational opportunities for students; including the teaching & practice of skills such as observation, data recording & analysis to report writing and teamwork.
Two University of Reading staff members, Julian Park and Alice Mauchline (together with colleagues from Chester & Sheffield Universities) have received HEA funding for the Enhancing Fieldwork Learning project which aims to develop and share ways to enhance fieldwork learning using technology. Incorporating appropriate technology into fieldwork teaching can be enabling, fun to use and can be cost effective. Importantly, it gives students problem-solving opportunities in the field and provides a vehicle for the development of a variety of subject-specific, generic and employability skills.
An important aspect of this project is about reaching and engaging fieldwork practitioners in Higher Education and creating a community to share ideas and good practice. The team regularly attend both subject-specific and T&L conferences to engage people with the project and run workshops to demonstrate the potential transferability of technology into practitioners’ own teaching.
Additionally, the team run their own events. A two-day ‘Transforming Fieldwork Practice Workshop’ has just been taken place at Hornton Grange, University of Birmingham. Four teams from different institutions each came along with their specific requirements and were supported in finding ways to develop, facilitate & sustain change in their fieldwork practice. Also, a Showcase event is taking place in September 2012 at which there will be demonstrations of a number of simple technologies which can enhance fieldwork learning e.g. how to shoot and edit videos using only a smartphone & applications of iPads in fieldwork.
The website for the EFL project contains a wealth of resources including literature on fieldwork learning, case study reports on the use of technology to solve pedagogic issues encountered during fieldwork and a blog & social media streams.
Therefore, we invite you to engage with the project; use the resources, attend a talk/workshop or come along to the Showcase event in September 2012. Enjoy!