2009 Canadian e-Learning Conference Program

Classroom in the Field

Session Title: Classroom in the Field

Time & Date: 12:40 P.M. – 1:55 P.M., Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Location: Student Union Building (SUB) Partyroom

Session Description: Students in the field are faced with a multi-layered problem: how to see their classroom learning in an applied context. Information in the field is often overwhelming, and as novices, students are not effective and efficient learners in this environment. Tablet computers, loaded with scaffolding software, afford students the opportunity to better learn within a field situation. Cognitive load theory (CLT), which focuses on learning complex tasks (Paas et al. 2003), provides a theory for why students are often overwhelmed by field experiences and what to do about it. According to CLT, intrinsic, extraneous and germane represent the types of cognitive load which influence learning. For bryology field trips, intrinsic load refers to data about bryology, germane refers to information that helps students learn the intrinsic information, and extraneous refers to other elements that can inhibit the learning process such as trying to organize paper data sheets, and coping with the physical environment. Tablet functionality provides students with the capacity to organize data as it is collected; immediately upload and annotate field digital photographs; search previously uploaded subject keys to help identify specimens; plot geographical positions of species, and record questions and comments. Although students require instruction and time to learn how to use the tablets, these exercises can be linked to subject learning goals. Subsequent use of the tablets reduces the extraneous cognitive load, better enabling students to focus on learning activities and through this, develop better topic schema for understanding and problem solving within the discipline.

Conference Stream: Learning & Teaching

Session Format: Poster Presentation

Co-Presenter: Shona Ellis

Co-Presenter: Joanne Nakonechny

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