four disadvantages of field work.docx - FIELDWORK AS A TEACHING METHOD A CASE STUDY USING GPS Andreas Ulovec1 1 Faculty of Mathematics University of

four disadvantages of field work.docx - FIELDWORK AS A...

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FIELDWORK AS A TEACHING METHOD – A CASE STUDY USING GPS Andreas Ulovec 1 1 Faculty of Mathematics, University of Vienna, Nordbergstrasse 15, 1090 Wien, Austria, [email protected] Abstract In this paper we want to demonstrate a case study showing how fieldwork can be used as a teaching method. We will provide a definition of this teaching method, explain its advantages and disadvantages, describe the background and the setting of the case study, and report about the evaluation results. Fieldwork is rarely used in several school systems, both for legal and practical reasons. Yet it can increase students’ motivation, particularly in mathematics, as students can experience first-hand “what can mathematics be used for?” We will present a teaching unit using GPS as a tool to construct or measure geometric figures in the field, i.e. outside the classroom. This gives students an opportunity to learn about geometric figures not only in an abstract setting, but as shapes used in the real world. The questionnaires and interviews that we conducted show that this teaching unit improved students’ motivation to find out more about real-life uses of mathematics, as well as the possibility of increasing students’ attitudes towards learning mathematics by providing possible applications. Keywords Fieldwork. Real-life tasks. Electronic media as tools for learning DEFINITION AND INTRODUCTION By fieldwork we mean work of students outside the classroom. It may involve work in the school grounds or further afield. It can vary in duration – part of a lesson, a half day, or longer. It involves live collection of primary data by means of observation, experiment or survey (Ulovec et al., 2007). In this way, students can experience familiar and unfamiliar phenomena beyond the normal confines of the classroom (Dillon et al., 2005). However, fieldwork is not frequently used in many classrooms. This might be because of practical reasons, because of legal hassles, or simply because of a lack of teaching materials with proper suggestions. As for the practical reasons, some tips and hints can be found in Simperler (2012). As for the legal hassles, it might be true that using fieldwork requires some form-filling, parents to be contacted etc. But this is also true for other out-of-school activities, e.g. ski courses, swimming weeks, excursions etc., and so should not prevent one from using this method. As for the lack of teaching materials, this is the main reason for writing this paper. We developed a number of out-of-classroom activities in an EU-funded project called DynaMAT. One of the materials is presented here, together with an evaluation in the form of questionnaires and interviews, to serve as a case study about the usefulness of this teaching method.
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  • Summer '17
  • Geometry, Global Positioning System, teaching method

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