Skip to content

Toggle service links

iSpot Garfield Weston

Project website/blog  

What research questions the project addresses, aims & themes

iSpot has been hugely successful, and funded largely through the Big Lottery Fund, with additional funding from JISC (iSpot Local).

We are now keen to build on the solid foundations that we have established in order to turn iSpot into a sustainable project with the capacity to help many more people learn and also to improve their local environment for biodiversity. In consultation with iSpot users and our outreach workers (Biodiversity Mentors), we identified five specific outputs that we are focusing on in Phase II:

  1. iSpot - Local: working for conservation
  2. iSpot - Rapid-ID: a picture browser for beginners
  3. iSpot - Mobile: iSpot in the hand and in the field
  4. iSpot - Biodiversity Mentors: Outreach for the whole UK
  5. iSpot - Personal: Customization for each user

(IET will be involved in outputs 1, 2, 3 and 5; output 4 – the Mentors – will be managed through Science.)

How the research questions are addressed by the project (methodology and activity/environment)

The following programming activities will take place:

  • Provide 'iSpot local' embeddable site
  • Extend embeddable functionality (for example maps)
  • Redesign forms and interface
  • Survey services report
  • Enhancements to filtering, searching and viewing
  • Enhancements to map searching and viewing 
  • iSpot for Android mobile phones (beta then full v1.0 release)
  • API for localised services
  • Myspot improvements

Findings and outputs

The project is in progress 

Project impact

The project will substantially enhance and extend the use of social learning tools (iSpot), and support research in to the role of mobile and emerging technologies for lifelong learning and their application to the OU with particular reference to the move from informal to formal learning.

The intelligence built up through this project is of direct strategic value to the OU, as well as being of benefit to the research community. 


Participatory learning, social networking, informal learning, formal learning, open educational resources, nature, wildlife 

People involved

Doug Clow

Will Woods

Richard Greenwood

Richard Lovelock 

Project partners and links



Garfield Weston Foundation 

Start Data and Duration

September 2012 -  December 2013


Research & Innovation