Bicycle excursions in Renkum’s Beekdal and along the Grebbendijk using the Peek app
This article will show an example of how to use the Peek app for a course fieldwork.
Course: WRM12803 Orientation on International Land & Water Management
Period: Period 1
Short Introduction and background
Introduction and story behind the emergence of this learning activity. What was the need, what issue/problem was the teacher facing and wanted to resolve?
This first-year bachelor course in period 1 is meant to be an introduction to the domain and approach of the BSc program International Land & Water Management (BIL). To experience the domain and get an idea of Land & Water Management in practice, students would always participate in bicycle excursions to the Renkums Beekdal (brook valley in Renkum) and along the Grebbedijk between Wageningen en Rhenen.
They would do this in groups of about 10 students together with a local guide. Given the Covid-19 situation, it was too complicated to organise it in the same way and we decided that we could use the Peek app for this excursion, but in a different way as we did in period 6 in the Design course SLM10806 (Showcase).
Two routes were created in the Peek app that students had to follow during the two days, in smaller groups and without a guide or supervisor joining them.
It worked out really well, and we will do it again like this next year, even if we could go back to the pre-Covid set-up.
Relevant tools / apps (software) or hardware used
What has been learned after this lesson/activity has been executed ?
This is a first-period course for first-year students and the purpose of the excursion is twofold:
- First, to show students the field realities of drought in the Netherlands. In the excursion they see how it works in the Renkum area; how it manifests itself here, how can you see it in the landscape and how do different groups (stakeholders) deal with this. They are triggered to link theory to practice. In this case the concept of drought; what is it and how do you see it. On the Grebbedijk, there is the concept of flooding/high water. All things are happening on and around the dike at the moment. The aim is to show that you can think about issues from concepts and from reality and to connect this to each other. Also, you need knowledge from different disciplines to gain some insight into that. The Peek app was useful in this as it puts subjects of discussion on the agenda.
- Secondly, this course is an orientation. The aim is that students get a good picture of what the programme entails and if that is what fits with them. The excursion is at the end of the course. We start with explaining how the programme is built up, followed by discussions on land and water management, followed by an explanation about which courses are scheduled and why they are in the program. In the excursion, this comes together, and hopefully, they realise that they need these diverse subjects, like hydrology and sociology, because they will encounter that in practice.
Lesson idea / Learning activity
Specific description and demonstration of the lesson idea/learning activity.
The bicycle excursion
In the Peek app, two routes were created with instructions and questions on which feedback was given on the spot, or that could be used for discussion afterwards. At a number of points along the route, staff members were posted to discuss with the students what they were seeing and what could be concluded from their observations. This created the possibility to go a little deeper than static feedback on a given answer; it created the opportunity to actually have a discussion with each other. Kind of hybrid use of the app.
Students were divided in groups of 5-6 and with the code they received they could start the app. In order to release the questions, you have to be in the vicinity of where that question is located. This way you know for sure that students are doing the same excursion and seeing the same things.
Figure 1: The Grebbedijk route in the Peek app
Figure 2: Students should enter the received code to start the excursion
Figure 3: After entering the code, students could select the group they are in
Figure 4: The leads to some extra, excursion specific, information and instructions
The role play
What students have seen and learned is used in a role-play. After the excursions students were divided into different stakeholder groups for the Grebbedijk area, such as dyke constructors, nature people, farmers, recreationists. All groups first had to try to clarify what their issues and interests were. Then the groups were mixed and 4 or 5 stakeholder platforms were created in which the different representatives sat at the table. Together they had to discuss and come to a plan or problem statement for the Grebbedijk. In their discussion, they could see that different perspectives on reality exist and that the outcome depends on who is at the table. Based on their experience, they will hopefully not forget to invite an important stakeholder group anymore.
Lessons learned / Tips
Mentions tips lecturer has for colleagues based on their experience.
The use of the app was really an enrichment for the excursion. It was activating the students more and all groups had a more similar experience. This kind of equalising the excursion was really the biggest win of using the Peek app; we were reasonably sure that everyone had covered similar topics in a similar way. Previously, this was more dependent on the group and the supervisor. Now, although also somewhat dependent on the group and which discussion arose there, in principle, everyone had seen the same and had thought about the same questions. This was especially important for the Grebbedijk because after the excursion we always do a role play, and then it is useful if everyone has the same dyke in mind.
- The nice thing about it was as well that everyone was working on the questions. Although, in the end, the fastest ones were often in charge. Next time, we will consider if it is an option that more answers need to be filled in before the group can continue. In the discussions, however, it was easy to involve them all. So having the questions in combination with some real persons along the route, will definitely stay.
- In the end, it also saved us time. When we had supervised groups of 10, we needed more guides that would cycle along. Now we had 3 staff members along the route, who would be there the whole morning, but this was half the people. So it was somewhat more efficient and the preparation can be used again for next year.
- It might be interesting to see if we can make the programme and excursion even more interactive. One attempt has been to include the following open question at the end of the route: “You have now done the excursion and experienced the tour based on our questions. You may have seen things that were not covered. Which are these?”. The question was there, but we did not put enough emphasis on it and the quality of answers was not very high. Next time, we will try getting back to it more explicitly in a lecture or otherwise. We could maybe also do this with the answers given in the app. There is a direct feedback loop in the Peek app, but relating back to given answers at another point in the course could be valuable.
- As it was possible to do the role play in the largest lecture rooms at distance, we choose to do this activity live. It contributed to socialisation and personal development within the course. So if you do have the opportunity to come to campus, do! Try to make use of this time as good as possible and use it for activities that let students interact and socialise as well.
Teacher(s): Bert Bruins
Educational supporters/ESC contact: Barbara van Mossevelde
Author (interviewer): Barbara van Mossevelde
- Peek app for self-guided field trips: What’s up, What’s new in Brightspace
- Peek app website: www.peek.app
Interested in learning more about Showcases of learning activities?