The Outdoor Classroom II:
Curricular Innovations in
Mobile Computing for the Field Sciences

June 25-27, 2010

Workshop Conveners: Jeff Clark (Lawrence University) and Sue Swanson (Beloit College)

Location: Lawrence University's Bjorklunden Vid Sjon, Door County, Wisconsin


This workshop will bring together faculty members in the field sciences (e.g., archaeology, ecology, geology, environmental science) for a workshop dedicated to the development of field activities that utilize field computing. The event will be held on June 25-27, 2010 at Lawrence University's Björklunden Vid Sjön, located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin. The workshop is supported by awards of the NITLE Instructional Innovation Fund and the ACM Faculty and Career Enhancement (FaCE) Project. The workshop will begin on the evening of Friday, June 25th and will conclude in the afternoon on Sunday, June 27th. A tentative schedule is included below.

NITLE and ACM campuses are invited to nominate one or two faculty members who are interested in developing field exercises that take advantage of the unique capabilities of mobile computing. Additional attendees will be accommodated on a space-available basis; a wait-list will be created in the event of over-enrollment. NITLE and FaCE (ACM) will cover lodging and meals during the workshop. Campuses are responsible for travel to the workshop; however, limited shuttle service will be available between the Outagamie County Airport (Appleton, WI), the Austin Straubel International Airport (Green Bay, WI), and Björklunden on Friday and Sunday afternoons. Those interested in participating in the The Outdoor Classroom II: Curricular Innovations in Mobile Computing for the Field Sciences should apply by the February 15th deadline. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by March 15th.

Workshop Scope

The advent of inexpensive global positioning systems (GPSs); powerful, mobile computers; and wireless communication have the potential to revolutionize the way field-based science courses are conceived and delivered.Faculty who attend this workshop will be divided into disciplinary teams that will review and improve each participant's activity. During the two day workshop participants will:

  • discuss their activity with other field scientists and critique the activities of other participants
  • revise the activity and make a web-accessible version with supporting materials for faculty
  • develop recommendations for additional web-resources of value to faculty teaching in the field

Application Instructions

The primary focus of this workshop will be refining, and then publishing on-line, a teaching activity that you have tested in your teaching. We request that you submit the activity you would like to work on as part of your application to the workshop. This activity will likely be a field-based lab assignment, but could also be a homework assignment, a problem set, an in-class activity, or a project. It is not our intent that you spend substantial time modifying your activity in advance of the workshop. The activity submission form is a description of your activity. You can use this form to submit the actual activity and any related files. Please provide, at a minimum, the handout that you give to your students. If other files are available and will help us to understand your activity as a basis for our selection, you are welcome, but not required, to submit these.
In choosing the participants, we will look at how the technology is used to support the learning goals and how transportable is the activity-(could it be used elsewhere or be a model for an activity used elsewhere). We will also consider why you think this is a particularly effective activity. Finally we will aim to select activities from a range of field disciplines such as archaeology, ecology, environmental science and geology.

Workshop Fees:

The workshop is supported by awards of the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE) Instructional Innovation Fund and the Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) Faculty and Career Enhancement (FaCE) Project. There is no registration fee, but participants are expected to pay for transportation to/from the workshop site.

Contact the workshop organizers for additional information.

  • Jeff Clark (920-832-6733,
  • Sue Swanson (608-363-2132,

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