iPads for fieldwork

Through the use of iPads and a 4G network the University Library supports education on location. Students get a chance to work in the original environment both with each other and the lecturer. This allows them to learn how to look and compare better than otherwise, supplementing the theory taught in class.

Sadly, it is hard to provide large files on location during field work for educational purposes. Layering several map layers on top of each other with varying transparencies from for example Geoplaza isn’t easily done. Though most students have smartphones, the screens on those are often rather small for a map and because of the many different kinds if smartphones, not everything always works. Additionally approaching these kinds of files requires a lot of bandwidth. Not all students have an unlimited 4G connection.

That’s why the University Library provides iPads for education on location. The University Library has been supporting education in this way for over 7 years. With that experience we can advise lecturers on how to provide interactive content for activating education. We can beam PowerPoint presentations straight to a student’s iPad, integrate questions into the slide, allow for team assignments on location, etc.

But also things like marking spots on a map and adding additional information like descriptions, images or videos. These can then be monitored by the lecturer back on campus in real time, allowing them to give live feedback to students out in the field.

Currently iPads are used throughout the year in many different ways, among them:

  • Students collect information on hiding addresses used during World War II and put these directly into Geoplaza.
  • Students research the history of buildings that played a role in the slave trade. In teams they edit their findings into an interactive map while the lecturer monitors the process live from campus.
  • Ground drilling on The Veluwe where students mark on the map where they drilled and attach photos of their soil profile.
  • The history of the inner city of Amsterdam, in which students make assignments on location after an introduction by the lecturer, also on location.

Do you want to find out how iPads can enhance your education on location? Then contact the UBVU, via vraag.ub@vu.nl addressed to Rogier van de Blaak & Sylvia Moes.