Opportunities to deploy digital technologies to research agendas and active learning in tertiary education are becoming more widespread. Despite this, many research techniques are still taught using traditional “pen-and-paper” methodologies and an increasing evidence to support the view that people who have grown up with technology have acquired distinctive new ways of learning, and that traditional methodologies fail to maximize student engagement.
Here we report on a strategy for integrating mobile technology into our large (275+) module GG1015 Applied Geography, via the use of smartphones and the ESRI Collector for ArcGIS app. We focus the application of this research on the housing crisis in Cork City, detailing the spatial patterns of vacant and derelict buildings. We identified three common themes among students in response to using this mobile technology in geographic research. Our findings suggest that digital technologies can enhance active learning in geography for all students. Similarly, such activities should not only be reserved for small groups, and can be up-scaled for larger class sizes, particularly when using new technologies. Finally, we illustrate how the use of technology in a group setting can foster teamwork, peer-to-peer learning, and positively reinforce the uptake of digital technology in geographic fieldwork.
Paul is a lecturer in GIS at University College Cork (UCC) and a principal investigator at the Environmental Research Institute at UCC. Paul is pursuing several fields of research under the remit of geographic information science and systems, including analysis of movement data, spatial ecology, machine learning, and geographic pedagogy. Paul is also the Vice-President of IRLOGI.