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iPad use in Fieldwork: Formal and informal use to enhance pedagogic practice in a Bring Your Own Technology world.We report on use of iPads (and other IOS devices) for student fieldwork use and as electronic field notebooks. We have used questionnaires and interviews of tutors and students to elicit their views on technology and iPad use for fieldwork. There is some reluctance for academic staff to relinquish paper notebooks for iPad use, whether in the classroom or on fieldwork. Students too are largely unaware of the potential of iPads for enhancing fieldwork. Apps can be configured for a wide variety of specific uses that make iPads useful for educational as well as social uses. Such abilities should be used to enhance existing practice as well as make new functionality. For example, for disabled students who find it difficult to use conventional note taking iPads can be used to develop student self-directed learning and for group contributions. The technology becomes part of the students’ personal learning environments as well as at the heart of their knowledge spaces – academic and social. This blurring of boundaries is due to iPads’ usability to cultivate field use, instruction, assessment and feedback processes. iPads can become field microscopes and entries to citizen science, and we see the iPad as the main ‘computing’ device for students in the near future. As part of Bring Your Own Technology/Device the iPad has much to offer, although both staff and students need to be guided in the most effective use for self-directed education via development of personal learning Environments.
Student perceptions of iPads as mobile learning devices for fieldworkThis paper reports findings from six field courses about student’s perceptions of iPads as mobile learning devices for fieldwork. Data were collected through surveys and focus groups. The key findings suggest that the multi-tool nature of the iPads and their portability were the main strengths. Students had some concerns over the safety of the iPads in adverse weather and rugged environments, though most of these concerns were eliminated after using the devices with protective cases. Reduced connectivity was found to be one of the main challenges for mobile learning. Finally, students and practitioners views of why they used the mobile devices for fieldwork did not align.