Creating an immersive interactive excursion: what’s the secret?

What better place to learn about reality than the outdoors? Anton Pijl is one of our trip designers. As a consultant, he helps universities to make the best excursions in Peek. In this blog he gives some practical tips for an immersive interactive excursion.

A great excursion involves all senses: watching, listening, feeling, smelling, and yes – even tasting! Here is a list of tips for creating an immersive experience for your students.

Immersion: so much more than just reading

The current generation of students are well-trained, multi-tasking, critical thinkers. Modern society has taught them to rapidly observe, interpret and formulate their own solutions or opinions. Quite the opposite of monk copy-cats from medieval times.

For this reason, a modern interactive excursion should challenge these students with more than just reading and writing using a sheet of paper. 

“The self-learning capabilities of the young generation, combined with the technology at hand (or pocket), opens a new way of immersive teaching.

The Peek app can help you to create a brand new immersive interactive excursion, or help you to adapt and modernise existing excursions. The following principles will help you to tailor your trip to the current generation of students.

1. Interactive excursion: diversity is key

The map below shows a trip of 19 questions at 12 locations, marked with different icons. It is easy to imagine the response of an average student to fill out a paper questionnaire of 19 questions of plain text. Instead, an interactive scavenger hunt like this would beg for an exploration, don’t you think?

By the way: did you notice that the map doesn’t provide any point-to-point route? This teaches the students a valuable lesson in navigational skills. Because that’s one thing medieval monks would have been much better at…

The different icons visible on the map reflect different question types Peek supports (such as taking pictures, estimating the dimensions of an object, or listening to a prerecorded audio track). Creating a diverse trip is the key to triggering the curiosity of your students!

2. Multimedia: interactive excursion is more than just fun

An easy way to make your interactive excursion diverse and immersive, is by using all kinds of multimedia. An added benefit of using a smartphone, is that visuals, audio, or video can easily be incorporated in your trip. For example, you could pre-record a track to tell something about a location, so students will see/hear it whenever they arrive there. Or you could include a diagram from one of your lectures in a field trip question. 

You can even take one step further and ask students to take pictures and upload them directly in the app, where you can access their input.

In this way, Peek allows some sort of (young-)citizen science, where students become field agents to collect useful or interesting field evidence.

Several lecturers have done this before, such as building a database of multi-temporal hydrological readings, or collecting geolocalised field evidence of wildlife tracks.

3. You as a teacher, not a shepherd

By not having to worry about navigating a flock of students; as a teacher you will have more time to actually be a teacher. Obviously it’s still nice to be in the field with them, but now you can be fully available for deepening discussions or storytelling. Some professors have designed their trips in such a way that they remain in one key location, and that small groups of students pass by at different moments. By having the route and standard questions programmed in the app, you can focus on the essential tasks of being a teacher: personal interaction. 

4. Real-time learning in an interactive excursion

How tall is that tree? Is this rock metamorphic or igneous? When was this castle built? 

Many answers to these questions will have been written down on a paper sheet, weathered, crumbled, crushed under a water bottle in a backpack, and ended up in a trash bin of a students dorm two weeks later. 

Peek not only saves all the submitted answers for teachers & students, but most importantly: it gives direct feedback to answers in the field.

As a teacher, you can program feedback responses to right answers and wrong answers separately. This is crucial for making the most out of the interactive excursion, because knowing if you’re wrong or right allows real-time learning. Repetition (and iteration) is the best way to learn – whether it is about identifying plant species or training estimation skills.

5. An unforgettable lesson

It is well known that our memory is highly sensitive to other triggers than just reading.

Visuals, sounds, and scents are powerful ways not just to entertain your students – but to make sure your lessons are truly unforgettable! 

Over the past years, many professors have used Peek for creating diverse and inspirational experiences. From discovering remainders of ancient roads – to designing state-of-the-art city infrastructure. From detecting microorganisms in soil and water – to finding fossils captured in sedimentary rocks. From studying soil loss in Italian vineyards – to witnessing coastal erosion of the Dutch Zandmotor. From birds to beavers – from farms to forests – from pedogenesis to photosynthesis. We love to see all the creative ways in which the app has been applied.

Want to know more?

Get in touch with our trip designers if you want to further discuss how to create a diverse, personal, and immersive field trip using the Peek app.