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Volume 30 Issue 9 (September 2020)

GSA Today

Article, pp. 4-10 | Full Text | PDF

Using Mobile Technologies to Enhance Accessibility and Inclusion in Field-Based Learning

Steven J. Whitmeyer*

Dept. of Geology and Environmental Science, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia 22801, USA

Christopher Atchison

School of Education and Department of Geology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221, USA

Trevor D. Collins

Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, UK


The relevance of field education in the geosciences has been subject to increasing scrutiny, in part due to the exclusionary nature of traditional field practices that require independent work and physical agility. As an alternative, this article presents strategies for increasing accessibility and inclusion in collaborative field-based education through the use of mobile technologies. We present a series of examples to show how the use of mobile technologies in the field can enable collaborative observation, data collection, data sharing, and interpretation. The strategies developed in these examples provide equitable access to instruction, peer engagement, and participation in every field exercise. We suggest that technological approaches to accessibility and inclusion in the field can facilitate opportunities for all students to gain field experiences that are an important component of geoscience education.

* whitmesj@jmu.edu

Manuscript received 24 Apr. 2020. Revised manuscript received 11 June 2020. Manuscript accepted 14 June 2020. Posted 26 June 2020.

© The Geological Society of America, 2020. CC-BY-NC.


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