One of the beauties of mobile technologies is that they are precisely that - mobile. You can take them on long bus rides. You can use them to take photos. If you’ve got a wireless connection or cellular data, you can connect to the internet. All of this in a device that is small enough to fit into your backpack. So, tablet devices like the iPad make fantastic tools to take along on excursions - especially when you modernise the excursions from the old ‘fill in the answer sheets’ and making them a little more interesting by making the learning more authentic and real.
Let me give you an example: at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in July 2014, we had the opportunity to be Citizen Scientists for a couple of days. This means that we used our iPads to do a range of different things like:
- Track the prevalence of the Gold Spotted Oak Borer - using a specially made app for the purpose.
- Identify local species of birds and other wildlife - using the iNaturalist app.
- Design our own plankton phylum, using 123D Creature.
- Use a ProScope to look at microscopic creatures through our iPads.
- Use sensors with the iPads to measure pH and conductivity in water.
These are all really simple examples, but what they do is transform what can essentially be quite a passive experience - listening, watching, looking - to something that is much more interactive - we became creators of knowledge, rather than simply consumers of it. Do you have any suggestions for how you've used mobile technologies on field trips?
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