FSC | Field Studies Council

Field Studies Council: Bringing Environmental Understanding to All

Fieldwork HackDay a real success

A unique group of designers, developers, scientists and educators gathered together over the weekend for the first HackDay to be hosted by the Field Studies Council (FSC). Those who attended worked hard creating prototypes and developing ideas for innovative new educational tools such as apps and new software which will help to enhance fieldwork.

The event took place at FSC Slapton Ley in south Devon and welcomed around 50 people. During the weekend participants enjoyed talks, fieldwork sessions and networking opportunities as well as spending lots of time working in small groups developing their various concepts.

By the end of the weekend nine different ideas were in the process of being worked up. These included ways of gathering data for river and beach profiles, methods to allow instant data collation on-site and a bat call identifier app. With the range of expertise on hand it was a great chance to combine the skills of the developers and designers with the knowledge of teachers and field teachers.

Hackers hard at work outside FSC Slapton Ley

FSC HackDay was created and organised by Harriet White, Senior Tutor at FSC, alongside Ant Miller of BBC Research & Development and John Bevan Learning Partnerships Lead at Mozilla. The purpose was to create solutions to challenges faced by those teaching fieldwork regularly. Students are increasingly technologically savvy and the HackDay hopes to have achieved some exciting new ways of working in the field that will really boost their interest and improve their experiences.

Ant Miller commented: "It was a fantastically satisfying Hackday - all our guests had a wonderful stay in Slapton, and it was a perfect mix of expertise to really get to grips with delivering real solutions for outdoor education through technology, hardware, software and lots of fun. We thought it was a good idea- turns out it was genius!"

John Bevan commented: "It was such a pleasure to get out into the field, well beyond the traditional stomping ground for a hackday. The participants were inspired by their surroundings and each other and produced some truly awesome work. The collaboration between hackers and educators was a joy to observe and be a part of."

Harriet White added: “We are proud to have hosted this exciting event, which brought together bright minds from the technology industry, and progressive educators, who have put the FSC at the forefront of fieldwork innovation – and come up with some very, very good ideas!”

Following on from this unique event there will be an FSC HackDay Results Showcase, taking place on 30th May.  For more information on this, and what was achieved at the Hackday please visit http://fschackday.wordpress.com 


"I popped down to the FSCHack on Sunday and was immediately hit by the immense enthusiasm and sheer brilliance of the hacks taking place. Everyone was so friendly and so keen to share and enthuse over what they had been working towards. It struck me how wonderfully creative it was to bring people together, often with very different skills, to help provide solutions to improve aspects of the FSC experience. It didn’t seem to matter what level or type of skill you had, as long as you were enthusiastic and willing to take part. The FSC at Slapton Ley provided a beautiful setting for the hack and enabled people from a more technical or pure science background to engage and experience the FSC environment and see how the solutions they were trying to build might be used in reality. The experience certainly made me fondly remember my days as a geography student!"
Ms Emma Bee
Senior Spatial Analyst
British Geological Survey

Wednesday, May 23, 2012