, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 77–83 | Cite as

Facilitating Place-Based Learning in Outdoor Informal Environments with Mobile Computers

  • Heather Toomey ZimmermanEmail author
  • Susan M. Land
Original Paper


This paper advocates for place-based education to guide research and design for mobile computers used in outdoor informal environments (e.g., backyards, nature centers and parks). By bringing together research on place-based education with research on location awareness, we developed three design guidelines to support learners to develop robust science-related understandings within local communities. The three empirically- derived design guidelines are: (1) Facilitate participation in disciplinary conversations and practices within personally-relevant places, (2) Amplifying observations to see the disciplinary-relevant aspects of a place, and (3) Extending experiences through exploring new perspectives, representations, conversations, or knowledge artifacts. Last, we link theory to practice by illustrating how the three guidelines were applied in one outdoor science learning project called Tree Investigators.


informal learning mobile computers place-based education theory- to-practice learning environments outdoor education 


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Penn State UniversityPAUSA

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