RGS-IBG Annual International Conference 2012

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174 Engaging learners in relevant education: showcasing novel approaches
Convenor(s) AC2012 Conference Organising Committee (Royal Geographical Society (with IBG))
Chair(s) Jennifer Hill (University of the West of England, UK)
Timetable Wednesday 04 July 2012, Session 4 (15:10 - 17:00)
Room David Hume Tower - Room 6.11
Session abstract This session has been convened from papers submitted to open sessions.
Contact the conference organisers to request a change to session or paper details: AC2012@rgs.org
Web 2.0 technology in hazard response simulation training
Servel Miller (University of Chester, UK)
Derek France (University of Chester, UK)
Increasingly society is becoming more complex and the nature and diversity of risks posed particularly from ‘natural hazards’ are becoming more difficult to understand. The complexity of these natural hazards and society’s increased vulnerability to these hazards, means that more time and effort is required to communicate the risks posed. Risk communication is now an integral component of managing the risk posed by natural hazards. It is therefore of paramount importance that students studying disaster/hazard management in Higher Education (HE) be given the opportunity to develop essential risk communication skills, that are vital for the real world and employment. Universities therefore have to develop cost-effective tools to provide students with this vital ‘real-world’ experience.
Over the last three years the University of Chester has explored the use of the freely available Web 2.0 tool, Yammer for natural hazard (volcanic eruption) simulation exercises and has evaluated the role of this technology and its impact on the student learning experience. Generally, such technologies have the potential to facilitate group activities, enabling academic interaction as well as networking opportunities between tutors and students. This paper discusses the findings of the impact of this Web 2.0 technology on the student learning experience over a three year period, reflects on the assessment strategy, as well as exploring the transferability of the simulation exercise beyond HE.
Securing learning using a 21st century Cook’s tour fieldtrip
Ian Fuller (Massey University, New Zealand)
Derek France (University of Chester, UK)
Knowledge generation using a ‘Cook’s tour’ approach to student fieldwork has traditionally been associated with teacher-centred learning and minimal student motivation and collaboration. This does not align with best-practice, and accordingly this genre of field teaching has been largely dismissed as an empowering learning tool, lacking depth in learning and effectiveness in group development. Fieldwork is perceived to lie at the heart of the discipline, and there is now an opportunity with the introduction of new digital technologies to revitalise, update and enhance the traditional Cook’s Tour to bring this mode of field teaching back into relevance for this century.
In this paper we evaluate the effectiveness of incorporating active learning and synthesis opportunities through the use of digital video into a traditional Cook’s Tour as part of a final year undergraduate paper in applied field geomorphology. The 7-day road trip around the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island provided the backdrop for this research, where students presented short, previously researched, on-site field presentations. Opportunities for synthesis and reflection were generated through learner-generated video clips summarising landscape features, processes and management issues at each site. Thus empowering students through active learning and small group collaborations. This is assessed via pre and post fieldtrip questionnaires, nominal focus group, video diary reflection and marks analysis pre and post the introduction of on-site video production. Results of this research indicate the overwhelming positive influence on student learning. Recommendations are made for practitioners wishing to introduce this type of approach into practice.
I don't use 'maps' anymore: Engaging with Sat Nav technologies and the implications for cartographic literacy and spatial awareness
Stephen Axon (Liverpool Hope University, UK)
Janet Speake (Liverpool Hope University, UK)
Kevin Crawford (Liverpool Hope University, UK)
It is somewhat paradoxical that at a time of widespread and increasing adoption of Satellite Navigation (Sat Nav) technologies of wayfinding, geographical and cartographical research has engaged very little with issues relating to their impact on spatial awareness and cartographic literacy. To date, academic engagements with Sat Nav have been largely grounded in Psychology and Computer Science and Geographers are comparative latecomers to current discourse and debate. In this paper, we start to address some of the impacts and implications of Sat Nav within an overtly geographical and cartographical context. Through exploration of Geography students’ engagements with Sat Nav, we investigate how these latest forms of wayfinding technologies are influencing choice and methods of navigation and how they affect attitudes towards more ‘traditional’ forms of maps and map use. We explore engagement in terms of what Geography students know about, feel towards, and achieve with, Sat Nav technologies. Principally, Sat Nav is not seen as ‘map’ but as something different and distinctive and this, in turn, has implications both for how people navigate, how they relate to the places and spaces around them and for their spatial cognition and ‘map-reading’ abilities. We illustrate that the varying uses of Sat Nav result in a diversity of experiences and attitudes which begin to illuminate some of the forms and character of engagements with these technologies of navigation.
Field-Based Learning: Enhancing Student Learning Through Community Engagement in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
John Morrissey (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
Kathy Reilly (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
Alma Clavin (National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland)
The focus of this paper is a field-based learning module that constitutes the practical emphasis of an MA programme exploring issues relating to Environment, Society and Development. Since the inception of the MA programme in 2010 the field-based learning module has culminated in an international fieldtrip from Ireland to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) where students intersect with the development work of the European Commission, UN agencies and various NGOs. In connecting with the work of actors such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), a key challenge for students includes thinking through the scalar nature of all forms of development, in which initiatives on the ground are framed by broader geopolitical, economic and institutional structures that both enable and hinder development in complex ways. The Field-Based Learning module is aimed at connecting and synergising students’ academic learning in relation to broader core themes (such as geopolitics, international security and development) to the localized community concerns of citizens on the ground in a post-conflict society. Central to this field-experience is an exploration of how practices of development on multiple levels (from entrepreneurship to environmental governmentality, from civil society reform to gender securitization) are framed in complex, scalar ways. To this end, various student fieldwork initiatives with inter-governmental, governmental and non-governmental agencies on the ground in Sarajevo were established. The critical concern on the trip was to identify local community needs/issues (for example, in relation to gender and security), by meeting with community leaders, doing some basic surveying and mapping of key issues, and then reporting back to NGOs and other agencies involved in development work in Sarajevo.
The emotional geographies of children’s friendships: troubling the emotion-control agenda in education
Lisa Procter (The University of Sheffield, UK)
This paper explores how children’s friendships produce and are produced by emotional life within a school context. I will draw upon data from a recent ethnography in a primary school. At the school children are taught how to manage emotions in their relationships in ways that avoid conflict. The school environment plays an important role in communicating this teaching, for example, children have ‘calm’ spaces for when they feel angry. However, children’s friendships appear to rely as much on conflict as they do collaboration. While, children draw upon explicit ‘feeling rules’ directed by adults within their relationships they also regularly move away from them. This paper will explore how children construct feeling rules, which are separate from those directed by adults, through both conflict and collaboration. I will suggest that as children together inhabit different school spaces they construct feeling rules that can contest adults’ prescriptions of emotional morality. I will examine how emotions are integrated in the ways that children hierarchically organise and differentiate the types of friendships they have. Geographical spheres including the classroom, the school or the home also influence these groups. This paper examines how these different emotional terrains intersect and collide in children’s friendships. I will question the necessity of ‘teaching’ children how to manage emotions in their relationships by showing that children competently do so already and in ways which conflict with what they are taught. Rather, I will suggest that understanding children’s emotional geographies is important to thinking about how emotions are and could be addressed in education.