The Geographical Association's Teacher Guide: Virtual fieldwork for ICT in geography

Updating a website from the Atlas Mountains, Morocco Encounter Edu
Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop updating a website from the Atlas Mountains, Morocco

The Geographical Association published a short guide for teachers to use ICT in secondary geography, featuring Digital Explorer’s fieldwork case studies.

This guide outlines some of the most important ICT available for teaching and learning geography, both in and outside the classroom. Chapters draw on the work of geography teachers and what they find really works. Each chapter takes a separate area of technology and explains, in simple terms, its meaning, why it is helpful for teaching and learning geography, and practical steps to get started, including weblinks to find out more. It is produced by the GA with the support of the RGS-IBG and Becta.

The chapter written by Jamie Buchanan-Dunlop includes practical examples of virtual fieldwork that can bring the most remote places in the world closer to the classroom:

“On a field trip to Marrakech and High Atlas, fourteen students from Eastbury Comprehensive School investigated land use patterns in different areas of Marrakech. The tools for undertaking their fieldwork included a digital camera, capable of photography and video, and a GPS unit to record the latitude and longitude of particular places. In the field, the students noted the exact location of different areas using the GPS and then recorded images and observations of each place using digital photography and video. Back in the classroom they used Google Earth to locate their digital research on a map, added additional research sourced on the internet, and then combined this material with the images, footage and information recorded on their trip to produce a virtual field trip ready for sharing.

Robert Swan succeeded in being the first man in history to live in Antarctica, relying solely on renewable energy. Every day, using Wordpress, he posted live images and video footage of the expedition onto the internet. Searching the internet will provide you with many websites based on expedition and international fieldwork. You can use the same methodology as the Antarctica E-Base Goes Live team without leaving the school grounds. Using free services such as Blogger, websites are easy to set up (students are often more than happy to help) and video, images and maps are easy to upload. Once your blog is set up, students can add images, research and live footage on a regular basis.

Download the guide