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MoLeNET case study guidelines The following headings should be used as guidelines for completion of case studies. A case study may be about 1 learner or a group/class of learners and may describe one particular teaching and learning activity or a project carried out over a number of weeks/months.

Title Can GPS hardware and interactive mapping software aid learning and provide additional benefits for students based in an outdoor environment Author Andy Mitchell Institution South Staffordshire College Academic year Sept 2009 Keywords Please specify 5 or more keywords describing your case study. GPS Adventure Evidence Collection Health and safety Feedback Technologies Please list the technologies used in the case study. GPS systems Trackers Netbook Master gps unit Main subject area Please specify the main subject area in which the case study is based. Public Services department Main level Please specify the main level of the learners involved in the case study. BTEC Public services level 1-3 (17 – 21) Introduction and overview Please introduce the context to the case study including number and type of learners, course being studied, devices used and general project context. Max 200 words The project was designed to aid learning and safety in a mountain environment for over 100 students on public service courses. The idea was to use the software in the classroom environment to create routes in mountainous terrain around the country. At present this task is massively time consuming and tedious. The aim was to reduce the student input into this area, allowing them more time to concentrate on developing these skills in an external environment. The second phase of the project was to input these routes onto gps systems allowing the students to navigate much more easily and safely in mountainous terrain. The final sector allowed us to track the students and

maintain contact with them, allowing greater remote supervision and a reduction in risk and therefore bureaucracy. Aims Please explain the aim of using the technologies with these learners, i.e. the issues currently faced and the aims with regard to overcoming these or improving aspects of teaching and learning. Max 200 words Increase the amount of quality time on practice skills for kinaesthetic learners. To make navigation interesting and engaging and ridding the stigma associated with a map and compass. To reduce cost associated with replacing out of date maps. To reduce weight carried on expeditions. To reduce the risk associated with adventurous activities. Addressing the challenge Please provide detail on how the devices were used for teaching and learning to address the aims. This section needs to be detailed enough for other practitioners to be able to follow and adapt for their own teaching and learning contexts. Max 200 words Initially the older skills of map and compass were taught. As a direct comparison a full OS map of the same area was projected onto the interactive whiteboard. A route was planned the “old fashioned way” taking into account height gained, bearings, distance and time. This took the students nearly an hour. The lecturer then did exactly the same route on the mapping software while the students watched. This took less than 5 minutes. Each student was then set the task of producing their own route and actively encouraged to experiment with other features such as satellite imaging and 3d rendering. They were then allowed to complete a series of practice walks both with and without the technology. Outcomes and reactions Please explain the impact on teaching and learning of using the technologies in this context, under the following headings (adding other groups if appropriate). Impact on teaching and learning Max 200 words Students found the technology a lot easier to understand and use than its predecessor. It saved time & effort and aiding the college’s sustainability framework by reducing paper usage. Teachers found the software easy to use and therefore an aid to teaching. Hardware in the field was robust and suitable for the targeted age group in terms of being robust and waterproof. Overall the equipment and software saved a lot of time and was a lot easier to use than previous methods.. Learners’ reactions Max 100 words Students liked the software and the equipment. They said it was easy to use and operate. They also found the equipment more stimulating and interesting than previous methods of compass navigation Teachers’ reactions Max 100 words Lecturers were happy with the time saved and added students interest levels. Health and safety considerations were addressed. The field equipment saved on a lot of paperwork preparation. This time saving was of great benefit to the staff. The only negative aspect to the use of this equipment is the reliance on electronic technology in an extreme environment. If batteries drain or the system malfunctions then students can be stranded having spent less time on the core skill of map and compass usage.


Managers’ reactions Max 100 words The manager is extremely happy by student and staff reactions and the potential benefits to the sector. Budgets and paperwork have been reduced and student interest aroused by using a new generation of equipment Lessons learned Please discuss any issues encountered and how they were overcome. Provide recommendations and advice for others to follow. Max 100 words Mapping software needs to be on all workstations in a computer room especially one connected to an interactive whiteboard. Staff need training in advanced functions. It cannot replace the old skills of map and compass. It must run alongside. Maps can be printed for portfolios. Walked routes can be analysed for any mistakes made. Tracking technology provides reassurance to parents as they can access student locations from home. This does however raise privacy issues. Tracking software has rolling cost issues. It would be worth getting slightly more expensive units with no rolling costs Next steps Please explain future plans with this particular learner/group of learners and expansion across the course/institution. Max 100 words Create more master class demonstrations. Create blogs on the technology for online learning Consider purchasing more tracker devices Links Please upload photos, lesson plans and other documents to MoLeShare ( and videos to MoLeTV ( and document the links here.