Over the past three years we have successfully incorporated and evaluated the use of GeoPads in field geology courses offered at the University of Michigan's Camp Davis, near Jackson, WY; a GeoPad is a field durable Tablet PC equipped with Geographic Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS), wireless networking, electronic notebook and other pertinent software. The use of GeoPads has significantly enhanced our field exercises and excursions, for both students and instructors. For example, using GeoPads to teach field geology not only supports the traditional approaches and advantages of field instruction, but also offers important benefits in the development of students' spatial reasoning skills. Students are able to record observations and directly create geologic maps in the field, using a combination of penenabled GIS tightly integrated with a digital field notebook. The use of intuitive, freehand dataentry is a crucial advantage afforded by the Tablet PC. Overall, this arrangement permits students to record, analyze, and manipulate their data in multiple contexts and representations – while still in the field – using both traditional 2D map views, as well as richer 3D contexts. Such enhancements provide students with powerful exploratory tools that aid the development of spatial reasoning skills, allowing more intuitive interactions with 2D representations of our 3D world. Additionally, GISbased mapping enables better errordetection, through immediate interaction with current observations in the context of both supporting data (e.g., topographic maps, aerial photos) and students' ongoing observations. This approach also provides students with experience using tools that are increasingly relevant to their future academic or professional careers.
Von Peter A. Knoop, Ben van der Pluijm im Konferenz-Band The Impact of Tablet PCs and Pen-based Technology on Education 2006 (2006) im Text GeoPad
The approach described herein is easily adoptable through its use of readilyavailable, offtheshelf Information Technology (IT). It is also generally applicable to education and research in many traditionally nonITsavvy science domains, in addition to geology, such as archeology, biology, sociology, and natural resources.