Fieldwork has a long tradition in geography, and in certain sciences, notably geology, biology and environmental sciences. Fieldwork involves leaving the classroom and engaging in learning and teaching through first-hand experience of phenomena in outdoor settings. Exploration in natural habitats introduces students to the complexity and unpredictability of the real world, stimulates their curiosity, and increases their interest in scientific inquiry. However, over the last decade, there has been a decline in field-study opportunities in schools. This presentation describes the first extensive user-centered research programme into the role of technology-enabled virtual field trips as a means for improving the effectiveness of the outdoor fieldwork experience. It draws on a year-long research project that investigated how Google Expeditions, a smartphone-driven mobile virtual reality application, bridges virtual fieldwork with physical field trips and facilitates inquiry-based fieldwork and experiential learning. It examines the role of Google Expeditions in primary and secondary school science and geography, outlining the opportunities and challenges of integrating mobile virtual reality in schools and the practical implications of our research for fieldwork education in further and higher education.
This seminar took place on 25th April 2018