Informal participation in science in the UK: identification, location and mobility with iSpot

Scanlon, Eileen; Woods, William and Clow, Doug (2014). Informal participation in science in the UK: identification, location and mobility with iSpot. Journal of Educational Technology and Society, 17(2) pp. 58–71.

URL: http://www.ifets.info/abstract.php?art_id=1462

Abstract

Informal participation in science is being recognized as an important way of developing science learning both for children and adults. Mobile learning has particular properties that have potential in informal science settings, particularly outside traditional educational settings. Mobile technologies provide new opportunities for learners to engage with science on the move. This paper reviews the impact of participation in informal science settings on some members of the public using the experiences of the iSpot project as a case study. iSpot aims to create and inspire a new generation of nature lovers by getting people to explore, study, enjoy, and protect their local environment. It facilitates an inquiry learning approach to identification of wildlife with support provided by a community developing round the resource. The iSpot project described here provides evidence of the ways in which informal participation in science can be enhanced by the use of technology. We draw on the findings of two case studies within the project - iSpot Mobile and iSpot Local. These demonstrate particular ways in which location-based activity and mobile learning can be developed and have an impact on the informal learning of science.

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