FNS: Team introductions and expectations

Today we started the first set of fieldwork tests of the Field Network System. During the course of the project we plan to meet-up regularly and test versions of the system, as part of an iterative development cycle. To help collect some information about the process we’re going through, I’ve asked some of the project team to provide a blog post that will introduce themselves and give a brief overview of what they are hoping to get from the project.

My intention is to try and get as many of the project members to make these reflective diary posts as possible at key stages of the project, so that we can see where each of us are coming from, what assumptions we might be making, and if/how the resulting system corresponds to our aspirations. That’s the plan.

So, to get things started here’s my own introduction…

Name: Trevor Collins

Place of work: The Open University (OU) in Milton Keynes

Job title: Research Fellow (working in the Knowledge Media Institute)

Role: My role at the OU is to research the design and development of educational technology. Over that last six years this has involved looking at fieldwork teaching and learning, in order to explore how mobile and computer network technologies could be used to facilitate fieldwork. My background is in computer engineer, and my research areas include artificial intelligence, human-computer interaction, visualisation and technology-enhanced learning.

What I hope to get out of the FNS project:

By working with the Field Studies Council (FSC) I am hoping that I will learn more about the field-based learning support that they provide for their customers.

This project is giving me an opportunity to extend some of the mobile and network technologies that I have been developing in other contexts. Through collaborating with the FSC to develop a set of support tools for field centre activities, I want to get a better understanding of the ways in which these technologies can further enhance the fieldwork experience.

I am hoping that the system we develop will be used by the FSC and their customers, and that I will be able to write up some case studies around each of the specific activities that we support, so that the lessons learned can inform other groups that might want to deploy similar tools (e.g. schools, universities, or conservation groups).

…this structure will hopefully work for the rest of the team drafting their introductions. The next set of diary posts will be in about a month, when we have a more complete prototype of the system.