EFL Showcase 2017


The 7th Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Showcase was held at Chester University on the 8/9th September 2017. The event included a series of short presentations along with several field demonstrations of innovative field teaching approaches using mobile technologies. The Showcase was supported by the British Ecological Society’s Education, Training and Careers Committee and ESRI UK.

Mark Langan and Phil Wheater gave a thought-provoking plenary reflecting on over 40 years of residential field courses. They commented on the changes in delivery style of fieldwork that have taken place over this time period including; the need to allow students the chance to ‘learn to fail’ and the increase in research-based learning. They also provided an interesting concept of the ‘educational bubble’ – the idea that students can immerse themselves more deeply in their learning while away on fieldwork.

Addy Pope from ESRI UK gave an update on their not-for-profit work that provides free access to ArcGIS Online for all UK schools. As GIS is now embedded in the national curriculum, Addy described how Esri UK and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) are working together to develop a UK network of GeoMentors to support the use of ArcGIS Online in the classroom and encouraged interested colleagues to get involved.

The full programme is shown below and all talks are available on SlideShare. Reflections and photos from the participants on Twitter during and after the event are collated on Storify: https://storify.com/FIELDWORK_NTF/efl-showcase-2017

  • Plenary: It’s a big field out there! Reflections on over 40 years of residential field courses – Mark Langan and Phil Wheater – Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Teaching 3D model generation using Structure from Motion surveying in the field – C Scott Watson, Julie Peacock – University of Leeds
  • Vacation scholarships in conservation research – Richard Bevan – Newcastle University
  • Application of multiple technologies to marine biology fieldwork teaching – Penny Neyland, Ed Pope, Richard Unsworth, Ian Horsfall, Nicole Esteban – Swansea University
  • Enhancing marine science learning using local web technologies – Amy Collard – Dale Fort Field Centre, FSC Pembrokeshire
  • Field demo: Technological interventions make fieldwork more efficient, accurate & collaborative – Rachel Stubbington – Nottingham Trent University
  • Field demo: Revisiting Open data kit for field teaching – Phil Wheeler – The Open University
  • The pedagogical use of unmanned aerial vehicles in geoscience fieldwork education – Anthony Cliffe – Liverpool John Moores University
  • Field demo: Using the ArcGIS Online Platform – Daniel Farnes – Juniper Hall Field Centre, FSC London Region
  • The Virtual Realty Classroom – Inspiring the next generation of ecologists – Arron Watson – University of Reading
  • Mapping diversity in Pembrokeshire- A biological fieldwork application of ArcGIS for Post-16 education – Elizabeth Weston – Orielton Field Centre, FSC Pembrokeshire
  • Education in the green space: developing confidence in fieldwork practice – Judith Lock and Jake Snaddon – University of Southampton
  • Citizen science and participatory research methods in fieldwork teaching – Alice Mauchline – University of Reading

The group also discussed ideas for ‘making time for innovation in Teaching and Learning’. Here are their Top Tips:

  • Talk to the students – ask which apps they use
  • Delegate!
  • Use ‘Pocket’ to collect ideas
  • Follow innovators on Twitter & read the Apple Educators feed
  • Don’t open emails in the morning – only read them in the pm!
  • Have half an hour of ‘fun time’ at start of the day to innovate
  • Start an internal blog to share ideas with colleagues
  • Encourage new members of staff to attend T&L training courses
  • Consider using ‘Slack’ or ‘Trello’ for project management
  • Set up a multidisciplinary ‘Geek coffee morning’ to share ideas
  • Set up ‘speed dating’ to match novices with people who’ve tried embedding technology into their teaching
  • Arrange departmental talks/updates from T&L experts/innovators
  • Set students a challenge to find new ideas
  • Try stuff out…

The next Showcase will be held at the University of Leeds in September 2018 – so please keep an eye on the website or follow EFL on Twitter @fieldwork_ntf for further details.

The event concluded with a field trip to the historic Flintt Coastline of the Dee Estuary.





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