In The Zone is based on an idea by Oliver Haslam, a Learning Technologist in UWE Bristol’s Faculty of Environment and Technology (FET). It has received initial funding from UWE’s Learning For All and is being developed in-house by UWE’s PlayWest, specifically by Shaun Landy, a postgraduate student in FET.
Fieldwork is an essential component of many programmes at UWE and our lecturers regularly go with groups of students into Bristol, to Dartmoor or much further afield to take part in learning activities. In the traditional approach to fieldwork students follow a tutor who imparts information about the locations as they are visited and learners undertake tasks in situ such as surveys, experiments, and various practice activities.
Learning materials can include text, images, audio, video and embedded external web pages. Tasks built into the app include multiple choice survey questions, free text entry questions, and photograph tasks. It is also possible to embed external web pages as tasks for learners, which opens up the range of tasks available to anything that can be delivered on a web page. For example, Google Forms, Padlet walls, Xerte learning objects and many other web-based learning activities can be presented to students whilst in a zone.
Content submitted by learners in response to tasks in zones is immediately available in the Google Drive of the author of the walk, from which it can be instantly shared to others (e.g. students in class or at other locations) if desired. This may lead to previously inconceivable, potentially transformative, learning experiences for tutors and students alike.
In the first release of the In The Zone users (tutors and students) will require a Google account to sign in to and use the app. It will initially be available on the Android platform only with plans for an iOS version being developed at a later date.