My name in Lena Håkansson and I am an associate professor at the department of Arctic Geology, the University Centre in Svalbard. Within iEarth I lead the progress domain on field learning (PD4).
“When I am in the field I read landscapes. The landscape that surrounds us holds a lot of information about how mountains, valleys and coasts have evolved and how the environment has changed through time. These are all things that interest a geologist. The tricky part about reading landscapes is that there are so many layers of information out there. In the field, we are confronted with the full range of natural variability. Some of these layers of information are relevant for a geologist and some of them are not. To make sense of all this we need to filter out what is important to us. When I am in the field I am often interested in finding out more about how glaciers have changed through time. To do this I need to wear my “glacial geology filters”, or “glasses”. It takes time and practice to develop these filters. It is a craft and fieldwork is essential for learning it.”
Traditionally, field-based education has been an important component in Earth science curricula. It is a highly valued form of student active learning, but it does bring some challenges both when it comes to preparation for field activities and assessment. In PD4 we want to test new assessment methods for field activities and explore and evaluate digital artefacts in field teaching. We will develop virtual field guides and VR-technology for field preparation and assessment of field skills