Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Weather-proof iPad cases

This iPad case made by Griffin costs in the region of £25-£40 depending on Amazon price variation. We wanted an iPad case that could withstand the British weather and could survive being dropped onto a hard surface without having sensitivity of the screen compromised.

After extensive field testing last week in wet (and at times sunny) Devon, UK, we can feel confident that these cases stand up to the wettest conditions.  One student commented that "cameras and phones came back broken, the only thing left standing were the iPads".  The cases also calmed a lot of anxieties that the students had as they felt the iPads were more robust in their cases.

Negative points: the stand is a bit flimsy, but we barely used it on the trip. The weight of the iPad doubles when the case is on, again, it only weighs the same as a large notepad but if you are on an expedition and trying to travel light, this may be an issue. Overall, the benefits and durability far outweight

Monday, 27 February 2012

Slapton 2012 - iPad apps in the field.

Two of the project team spent a week at FSC Slapton Ley testing out various iPad apps with 67 level four students.  3G connection in the area was relatively poor which limited the extent to which we could test some of the apps which rely on location services such as Flickr, Panoramio and Twitter, but we made use of some offline apps such as GeoMeasure and Numbers, both of which were popular with the students.

 The students suggested that the apps were really easy to use with little assistance required. The only app they felt they needed more assistance with was Numbers as it worked differently to Excel and required more time for the students to graph data.

Each member of the first group were asked to describe using Twitter on the iPads in 3 words. "Fun, useful, paperless, convenient and easy" stand out as the positive feedback about the iPads. "3G, Wet and Risky" stand out as the less positive feedback about the iPads (though we suspect "WET" was in reference to the British weather in February rather than the iPads - incidentally the iPad cases we used were excellent in the rain, we will follow up on this with a blog post in the next few weeks).  "3G" was in reference to the lack of 3G coverage in the area which meant that the Tweets saved as drafts before being uploaded minus location data back at the Field Centre.

On the whole, the feedback was extremeley postive towards the iPads and the apps we chose to trial. An annotated Pin board has been put together describing different apps and how useful they are for fieldwork.  You can view that on Pinterest here:


Next fieldtrip location is New York City where our field tester (Derek) has already confirmed 3G is not a problem!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Technology Enhanced Fieldwork - Superlinks #1

Back to the occasional series of the mid-week link up with interesting blog posts and Twitter updates found on the internet in the last 7 days.

* Thanks to Chris Thomson from Netskills for linking to this blog post by the Guardian about shooting and editing videos on smartphones. Click HERE.

*Thanks (again!) to Chris Thomson from Netskills for linking to this update from Flickr about Geofences, very useful for anyone using location data on iPads and Smartphones. 

* Mashable's take on why iPads won't revolutionise education...yet. Do you agree with this?

* Aurasma - Could this be the future of QR codes? We'll be trying this app out in the next fortnight and blogging our findings.

* Save our fieldwork petition from the Field Studies Council - if you value outdoor education centres, please consider signing this petition .

We'd love to hear any comments you have on these technologies, especially if you have used any of them. 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Re-launch of our project website

If you are a regular visitor to the Enhancing Fieldwork Learning website, you might have noticed some changes taking place. Our new web developer Ben has been putting together an improved version of our website. The most significant change is the problems/resources section which we intend to update regularly as new resources are created.
We hope to bring you regular updates and resources via the blog and the website. Interested in technology? Don't forget our showcase event, see more information HERE.