A short yet content-rich digital field trip by University of Oxford

A short yet content-rich digital field trip by University of Oxford

A short yet content-rich digital geological field trip using virtual reality, adapted to distance learning!

This is the last stretch of DigiEduHack 2020! We conducted a series of interviews to shine the light on the members of the 12 teams taking part in this final round of DigiEduHack and get to know their aspirations, motivations and hopes. Let's meet with University of Oxford team!   

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How does it feel to be among the finalists of DigiEduHack 2020?

(Will) Amazing! Although we are three very different students, we are united by our passion for geology. It is great to see the success of our solution, and we would love to make our virtual field trip a reality.

Tell us more about the team: did you meet on the spot or did you know from before?

(Iván) We’re all classmates at university, so when the guys at Miskolc who organised our challenge invited me, I just aksed the others the next day if they felt like taking part and we were good to go. We are 4th year geology students, interested in different fields of the science. Will and I are into mineral exploration geology for mining, while Josh is involved in metamorphic petrology for engineering geology.

How did you organize your team: each team member had a precise role or were you all hands-on the project?

(Josh) We all really threw ourselves at this project and each took on a good chunk of the workload. The first half we spent together we brainstormed ideas and hashed out a broad idea of our solution. Given that our virtual field trip runs for three days, we then took on one each for expansion and finalisation. Finally, Ivan took on the questionnaire that would be sent to the judges, Will produced a portfolio document providing the full details of the solution, whilst I worked on the presentation.

What was the team's epiphany moment? When did you realise "yes, we've got it"?

(Will) We realised long before DigiEduHack 2020 that the future of geology is virtual. With our combined knowledge of geology, GIS, drone technology, and a bunch of software, we knew we had what it took to come up with a great solution. Our eureka moment came when I recalled my own trip to Elba: The area has a rich mining history, complex structure, and a broad range of lithologies. It was an obvious case study that fit nicely into our model, and we know students from all around the world would benefit by experiencing Elba virtually.

Do you think your solution could work worldwide? Can it be adapted to very different contexts?

(Iván) Absolutely, one of its great strengths is that it’s a framework that can be fitted to most locations. This is especially useful since the most interesting geological sites are scattered all across the world, often in remote places, so we can bring these to people who otherwise might never have gotten to see them up close.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your solution?

(Josh) If our solution is used by universities, they will save money which can be redirected into improving student’s education in other ways. The solution also gives students an opportunity to engage with cutting-edge technology and software that is being used in the field. It is also very sustainable. Finally, compared to many other solutions our idea is realistic and we’re sure we can implement it in a short time period. We obviously recognise that some in-person trips are essential in the development of a geologist. Therefore, post-Covid our solution should be integrated with a fewer number of in-person trips within a curriculum.

If you're one of the three global winners, what are your next steps going to be?

(Will) To turn our concept into a real, tangible virtual field trip! More on this next…

Do you already have an idea on how to make your solution become real?

(Iván) I am proud to say our solution is already pretty close to being real and if we had a site and could get to it, we could send up the drone and set about creating a field trip tomorrow. So as soon as the world becomes a bit more normal again, we’ll probably just pick a location and go make it happen.

What would you tell potential voters to make them cast their vote for your solution?

(Josh) I love it every time I see that someone new has even taken the time to read our solution and consider it as a real possibility. This has been an incredibly rewarding experience to be able to challenge ourselves and to have our ideas thought of so highly already feels an incredible achievement. However, we have a burning desire to go further and bring its obvious potential into reality. So, potential voters, we need you!!

Could you give us a quote or a quick take-away?

Will) “Technology is the future of geology.”

Anything you'd like to add?

(Iván) Vote for us because I can guarantee our solution has more cool rocks than any of the competition!

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Now time to vote!
Meet you on the Unite Ideas platform https://ideas.unite.un.org/digieduhack/Page/Home

You need a bit of additional guidance on the process?
Meet you there https://digieduhack.com/en/stories-insights/digieduhack-2020-how-to-vote