Research Essentials

Perspectives on an academic environment: a collaborative blog by Gill Clough & Rebecca Ferguson

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Wednesday Morning – GPS Enabled PDAs

September 5th, 2007 · No Comments

9am was the start of my session. I’d worked hard to cut it down to 15 minutes – shedding all the literature and theory in favour of just covering the practical aspects of what I had done, my findings and the implcations for my main PhD study.

The first presentation was very interesting – all about accessibility and mobile devices. One of the things that struck me was their finding that people who described the biggest usability problems with devices weren’t those with disabilities, it was those who said that they had difficulty adapting to new things. However as their time went on, they suddenly had a signal from the convener that they had an extra 10 minutes. I couldn’t understand this and watched as what I thought was my time trickled away.

However turns out we had an hour and a half for 3 presentations yet all three presenters thought they had 15 mins each and 5 for questions. Eeek. All those slides I’d ditched. Wasn’t sure what I’d do.

Shouldn’t have worried. Once I’d got into my stride I could yatter on and did so. In fact it was quite good. I was able to talk at much more length about the influence the Nature Trail study had on my decisions for the main study into Geocaching and it gave me the time to describe what Geocaching was for the majority of the audience who had never heard of it.

In fact, although many in the audience had come along because they were interested in the Caerus-based study, the Geocaching kind of took over because it was so new to many. I got lots of really interesting questions at the end so I’m glad I fitted it in. It made me think about aspects of my study, particularly Mike Sharples comment in response to my description of the schoolkids’ use of the Travel bug to get to the Alaskan Husky race – about vicarious geocaching for disabled people.

The final presentation was about podcasting which again was very interesting. Much more positive in terms of student takeup than the two on podcasting I went to yesterday, although no real data on effect on learning. Then the convener talked about her experience in Australian university where their podcasts went into the top 10 downloads. With only 1000 students on the course, they found that 1500 students were downloading it. Turns out students who had completed that module the previous year enjoyed the podcasts so much they continuted to download them even after finishing the course.

I really enjoyed this, despite presenting for longer than I expected, and would probably have chosen this strand anyway. I’m glad I went. But I’m also glad it’s over. I wonder how long it takes before you get no nerves at all before giving a presentation.


Tags: ALT-C · by Gill · Conferences · Geocaching

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