The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Engaging Learners through Interactive Field Experiences

Melissa Caspary, Georgia Gwinnett College (United States)

Diane Boothe, Boise State University (United States)


Education has experienced a recent focus on strategies and methodologies centered around rapid deployment and accessible content. There has been a significant proliferation of virtual activities in response to the impact of Covid-19. While these applications and technologies are essential for our evolving education systems, an emphasis on application and experience is essential for knowledge transmission and tranferable skills. One key strategy for strengthening these abilities is by developing a curriculum including field experiences to add the critical necessary components of engagement and hands-on activities increasing meaning and relevancy to our virtual and hybrid world. Field research and excursions provide a unique and integrated “learn-how-to-learn” experience that cannot be duplicated in the classroom or laboratory [1].  They create opportunities for first-hand experiences that encourage critical thinking, long-term retention, transfer potential, positive attitudes toward science, appreciation for nature, and increased scientific curiosity [2]. This study and investigation will focus on opportunities for small groups of students to engage in field experiences in science field courses, while maintaining the requirements of social distancing to ensure safe and healthy interaction among students in an outdoor environment. Examples will be shared from this summer field experience that have been carefully designed to expand collaborative learning in the biological sciences. The innovative curriculum provides the opportunity for students to visit and study a range of landscapes and physiographic provinces in the state of Georgia to explore the landscape natural history and ecology, the natural communities within these regions, and the unique endemic species that call these natural communities home.  In each of these areas, students collect artifacts and complete hands-on investigations of the environment. These intense, connected and cooperative activities culminate with field collections resulting in a portfolio and final presentation of the accomplishments and endeavors. Sharing the advantages of field experiences and the examples of this course will provide a framework for conference participants to expand collaborative fieldwork strategies that support their traditional curriculum, and increase the interrelatedness of innovative learning objectives patterned after the methodologies aligned to this type of field experience.

Keywords: Active Learning, Field Research, Life Science, Transferable Skills.


  1. The Value of Field Experience: A Consensus of the American Geological Institute Geoscience Associates. March, 2001. Retrieved Feb. 20, 2021.
  2. Manner, B. 91995). Field Studies Benefit Students and Teachers. Journal of Geological Education. 43:2, 128-131.

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