Advertisement

Using Interactive Virtual Field Guides and Linked Data in Geoscience Teaching and Learning

  • Tim Stott
  • Kate Litherland
  • Patrick Carmichael
  • Anne-Marie Nuttall
Chapter
Part of the Innovations in Science Education and Technology book series (ISET, volume 20)

Abstract

This chapter draws on experiences of designing, developing, using and evaluating web-based Virtual Field Guides (VFGs) for teaching geosciences. The chapter briefly reviews the previous use of VFGs to support students’ learning by fieldwork, highlighting some benefits. VFGs are considered to supplement real fieldwork, but not to become a substitute for it. We then outline the design considerations, development and staff and student evaluation of two VFGs: (1) the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail in Yorkshire developed for Foundation degree students and (2) the Virtual Alps VFG developed for level 2/3 undergraduates. The design and development of these VFGs was undertaken using different approaches, and the advantages and disadvantages of these different approaches are discussed. The Ingleton Waterfalls VFG was developed by a team comprising two academics, one technician and two web developers. Based on the experiences of developing the Ingleton Waterfalls VFG, the Virtual Alps VFG, on the other hand, was developed by two academics, with limited support/input from web developers.

The technological background against which VFGs are used has changed from the 1990s ‘Web 1.0’ standards to embrace the interactive ‘Web 2.0’ innovations, ‘open data’ initiatives and interest in how ‘user-generated content’ can be used to complement and extend existing databases and online collections. These developments have changed not only the practice of geoscientists in general; they also offer new possibilities for VFGs and the role they play in teaching and learning. The chapter reviews some of these developments, in particular, the emergence of a ‘linked web of data’ for the geosciences, and concludes with a description and discussion of a pilot VFG which employs ‘linked data’ and ‘semantic web’ approaches to allow students to access diverse web-based resources, to explore the relations between them and to then draw on these in the course of more authentic assessment activities than has hitherto been the case.

The chapter concludes with a discussion of how the development of VFGs and their associated technologies might produce a shift in their use from being visual representation tools towards their use to develop skills necessary in practice, thus assimilating online tools into an expanding and evolving set of discourses and practices, rather than replacing or causing the loss of traditional disciplinary skills.

Keywords

Video Clip Field Trip Fluvial Process Ensemble Project Metadata Record 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Abbreviations

EPSRC

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

ESRC

Economic and Social Research Council

FTP

File transfer protocol

GEON

Geosciences Ontology

GOSIC

Global Observing Systems Information Center

HEP

Hydroelectric Power

LJMU

Liverpool John Moores University

NASA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

SEM

Scanning Electron Microscope

USGS

United States Geological Survey

VFG

Virtual Field Guide

WHO

World Health Organization

References

  1. Alani, H., Dupplaw, D., Sheridan, J., O’Hara, K., Darlington, J., Shadbolt, N., & Tullo, C. (2007). Unlocking the potential of public sector information with semantic web technology. In The semantic web (pp. 708–721). Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Andrews, J., Kneale, P., Sougnez, Y., Stewart, M., & Stott, T. A. (2003). Carrying out Pedagogic research into the Constructive Alignment of Fieldwork. Planet Special Edition 5: Linking teaching and research and undertaking Pedagogic Research in Geography. Earth and Environmental Sciences, 51–52.Google Scholar
  3. Auer, S., Bizer, C., Lehmann, J., Kobilarov, G., Cyganiak, R., & Ives, Z. (2007). DBpedia: A nucleus for a Web of open data. Proceedings from The Semantic Web, 6th International Semantic Web Conference, 2nd Asian Semantic Web Conference, ISWC 2007 + ASWC 2007, Busan, Korea.Google Scholar
  4. Berners-Lee, T., Hendler, J., & Lassila, O. (2001). The semantic web. Scientific American, 284(5), 34–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bizer, C., Heath, T., & Berners-Lee, T. (2009). Linked data – The story so far. International Journal on Semantic Web and Information Systems, 5(3), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ding, L., Difranzo, D., Graves, A., Michaelis, J., Li, X., McGuinness, D., & Hendler, J. (2010). Data-gov wiki: Towards linking government data in 2010 AAAI spring symposium series. Online at: http://www.aaai.org/ocs/index.php/SSS/SSS10/paper/view/1154
  7. Dykes, J. (2000). An approach to virtual environments for visualization using linked geo-referenced panoramic imagery. Computers, Environments and Urban Systems, 24(2), 127–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fletcher, S., France, D., Moore, K., & Robinson, G. (2002). Fieldwork education and technology: A GEES perspective. Planet, 4, 17–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fletcher, S., France, D., Moore, K., & Robinson, G. (2007). Putting technology into fieldwork education: A pedagogic evaluation. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 31(2), 319–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Heath, T., Domingue, J., & Shabajee, P. (2006). Interaction and uptake challenges to successfully deploying semantic web technologies. Proceedings from Semantic Web User Interaction Workshop, International Semantic Web Conference 06, Athens, GA, November 2006, Athens, GA.Google Scholar
  11. Huynh, D., Karger, D., & Miller, R. (2007). Exhibit: Lightweight structured data publishing. Proceedings from WWW ‘07: Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on World Wide Web, Banff, Alberta/New York.Google Scholar
  12. Koper, R. (2004). Use of the semantic web to solve some basic problems in education: Increase flexible, distributed lifelong learning, decrease teacher’s workload. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 6. http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/2004/6
  13. Laxton, J., Serrano, J., & Tellez-Arenas, A. (2010). Geological applications using geospatial standards: An example from OneGeology-Europe and GeoSciML. International Journal of Digital Earth, 3(S1), 31–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Litherland, K., & Stott, T. A. (2012). Virtual field sites: Losses and gains in authenticity with semantic technologies. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 21(2), 213–230. doi: 10.1080/1475939X.2012.697773 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lytras, M., & Naeve, A. (2006). Semantic e-learning: Synthesising fantasies. British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(3), 479–491.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Maskall, J., Stokes, A., Truscott, J. B., Bridge, A., Magnier, K., & Calderbank, V. (2007). Supporting fieldwork using information technology. Planet, 18, 18–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mika, P. (2005). Flink: Semantic web technology for the extraction and analysis of social networks. Journal of Web Semantics, 3(2), 211–223.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mika, P. (2007). Social networks and the semantic web. London: Springer.Google Scholar
  19. Mount, N. J., & Stott, T. A. (2008). A discrete Bayesian network to investigate suspended sediment concentrations in an Alpine proglacial zone. Hydrological Processes, 22(18), 3772–3784.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Oppenheim, A. N. (1966). Questionnaire design and attitude measurement. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  21. Papert, S. (1980). Mindstorms: Children, computers, and powerful ideas. Brighton: Harvester Press.Google Scholar
  22. Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ribes, D., & Bowker, G. (2008). Organizing for multidisciplinary collaboration: The case of GEON. In G. M. Olson, J. S. Olson, & A. Zimmerman (Eds.), Science on the Internet. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  24. Robinson, D., Yu, H., Zeller, W., & Felten, H. (2009). Government data and the Invisible Hand. Yale Journal of Law and Technology, 11, 160.Google Scholar
  25. Rozell, E., & Garner, W. (2000). Cognitive, motivation and affective processes associated with computer-related performance: A path analysis. Computers in Human Behaviour, 16(2), 199–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Senge, P. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  27. Shadbolt, N., Berners-Lee, T., & Hall, W. (2006). The semantic web revisited. IEEE Intelligent Systems, 21(3), 96–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Spicer, J., & Stratford, J. (2001). Student perceptions of a virtual field trip to replace a real field trip. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 17, 345–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Stott, T. A. (2007). Evaluation of low-cost personal digital assistants for field data collection and fieldwork leadership by students and staff. Planet, 18, 12–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stott, T. A., & Mount, N. J. (2007). Alpine proglacial suspended sediment dynamics in warm and cool ablation seasons: Implications for global warming? Journal of Hydrology, 332(3–4), 259–270.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stott, T. A., Nuttall, A., Eden, N., Smith, K., & Maxwell, D. (2008). Suspended sediment dynamics in the Morteratsch proglacial zone, Bernina Alps, Switzerland. Geografiska Annaler Series A: Physical Geography, 90(4), 299–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stott, T. A., Clark, H., Milson, C., McCloskey, J., & Crompton, K. (2009a). The ingleton waterfalls virtual field trip: Design, development and preliminary evaluation. Teaching Earth Sciences, 34(1), 13–19.Google Scholar
  33. Stott, T. A., Nuttall, A. M., & McCloskey, J. (2009b). Design, development and student evaluation of a virtual alps field guide www.virtualalps.co.uk. Planet, 22, 64–71.
  34. Stutt, A., & Motta, E. (2004). Semantic learning webs. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 10, 1–32.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Stott
    • 1
  • Kate Litherland
    • 1
  • Patrick Carmichael
    • 1
  • Anne-Marie Nuttall
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of Education, Community and LeisureLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK
  2. 2.Faculty of ScienceLiverpool John Moores UniversityLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations