Sensors built into mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, can determine a user’s location and provide, or trigger, context-aware educational resources in the surrounding environment. These can enable both formal and informal learning within physical ‘real-world’ settings. They may also enhance and frame the subject matter being studied. For example, learning about an historical event could be situated in the place where that event occurred, giving a rich sensory experience of being in the scene. Fieldwork activities have long encompassed ‘geo-learning’ as a way of providing information that exploits the surroundings and landscape. Geo-learning is not new, however technologies sensitive to location, or embedded in objects near the learner, now allow greater mixing of digital information with the physical world, to produce ‘blended spaces’. We need to consider carefully how we employ these opportunities for learning. Current theories are somewhat limited, but several approaches, including research into learning spaces, provide ways to model the richness of these environments and our interactions within them.

One Response to Geo-learning

  1. Liz FitzGerald says:

    I also think there are links to place-based learning/place-based education, especially where there is a focus upon interactions with the natural world – see e.g. the Place-Based Learning and the Place-based Education Evaluation Collaborative (PEEC) websites. This latter one has some interesting reading/further links (such as this report) to show explicit benefits for learning, particularly in the science curriculum – interesting how much of the academic literature comes from either the US or Scandinavia!

    Any thoughts?

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