14 Field pedagogy

Field pedagogy is an organised process of education and learning, implemented in the field. This line of pedagogical science can often be equated with experiential learning aimed at learning what we experience by getting to know the environment around us.

In field-based learning, teaching is extended to a site outside of the classroom or laboratory, exposing students to a real-world setting. Students learn through direct interaction with an environment that reflects taught concepts rather than learning through indirect presentations of the setting such as textbooks or lectures.

Field-based learning may serve a diverse range of teaching aims and goals as students are provided with a perspective of materials, objects or phenomena that are not accessible in, or fully appreciated through, other settings.

Field-based learning:

  • provides an opportunity to present materials, objects or phenomena that are not accessible otherwise to students in a way that enables direct contact and interaction
  • provides students with an opportunity to practice skills or techniques that cannot be carried out elsewhere
  • stimulates higher understanding and reinforcement of previously learned classroom material
  • stimulates an appreciation for, concern or valuing of the visited environment

(Lonergan, N. & Andresen, L.W (1988) field-based education: some theoretical considerations. Higher Education Research & Development, 7 (1) 63-77.).

Examples of field-based learning: 

Visiting a museum

Museums in this chapter include nature centres, science centres, zoos, arboretums, art, history, aquariums, botanic gardens, historic sites and similar institutions. Museums are an important setting for formal and informal learning. Their invaluable collections and purposefully designed spaces mean learning can happen almost ‘accidentally’. But making these learning opportunities available to as diverse an audience as possible is a constant challenge.

Four types of goals are relevant to learning in museums:

  • Mastery: wanting to learn more about specific topics
  • Performance: wanting to learn more than others
  • Hedonic: seeking fun or passive enjoyment
  • Social: wanting to communicate and share their experience with others

Interactive lesson about nature in the museum

Students visiting the State service for protected areas under the Ministry of Environment had lessons about nature. Pupils got familiar with the protected areas system, by turning contact gears, found funny and interactive information about Lithuanian and foreign protected areas (national and regional parks, reserves, sanctuaries, natural monuments, etc.). The exhibition – has not only interesting content, but also surprises with visual solutions. In the visitor centre pupils felt surrounded by nature: herbages, birds, grasshoppers around, overhead – the clouds. They got the feeling that they were in meadows or in the woods. In the Cinema Hall – the seat of the bat, pupils watched movies, listened to the mysterious sounds of nature, enjoyed a laboratory table – a question mark where various natural riddles were explained in motion pictures. Small visitors were really interested in an interactive game about cranes and cormorants originally created in Lithuania. Each exposure visitor becomes an active participant, which could touch, hear and feel.

Pupils experience: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hxws8qOoGUs.

Conception and calculation of time. Integrated physics and history activities, students analyzed time measuring devices, units, and visited the watch museum. Reflected on the menti.com app. Click for more information.

A combination of science and contemporary art. Students participated in an educational event in the Laboratories of the Life Sciences Centre and the MO Museum in the Centre for Contemporary Art in Vilnius. The students got acquainted with the peculiarities of the work of scientists and researchers, and connected science and contemporary art. Click for more information

Living creatures of the Baltic

The Student Leaders Club was given the task of making a presentation about the endangered Baltic Sea animals. The students searched for and found the information online. Lecture material and acquired knowledge, material sent by the Sea Museum about the future animals were used in the presentation. Students from different classes drew the drawings on the assigned topic “Living creatures of the Baltic Sea”. Creative works were done with watercolor, gouache, chalks, markers, computer programs. Click for more information

Visiting a company

Going outside

Nature exposure has numerous long-term benefits. Outdoor play fosters children’s physical, social, emotional, intellectual development. By being outside, surrounded by nature, children experience an ever-changing and free-flowing environment that stimulates all the senses. STEAM education is about asking questions, exploring, observing, experimenting, and predicting what will happen. Nature provides countless opportunities for STEAM education, discovery,  problem-solving, and creativity. Interacting with natural environments allows pupils to learn by doing and experimenting with ideas. Nature allows children the freedom to explore and observe what interests them in the moment. Then, they can follow-up on what they discovered with questions, predictions, or experiments, think and make hypotheses – thereby developing inquisitive minds. If students link the subject to the world around them, it will change their attitude towards learning.

An example: Outdoor classroom day. 10 classes (182 pupils) from kindergarten participated and did outdoor maths activities (for example, counted leaves, measured trees, weighed sand and stones and ect. ). Those activities were based on STEAM, children had to think creatively, to solve the problems, to compare the results. Outdoor classroom day was a part of eTwinning project “In the world of math”. This event was published in the Twinspace portal and it involved 61 teachers from all Europe. http://storage.eun.org/resources/stemsl/upload/2673/Lauko%20matematika%20ikimokyklinio%20ugdymo%20%C4%AFstaigoje.pdf

Moments of the activity:


There are many helpful tools for outdoor learning:

iNaturalist (https://www.inaturalist.org/pages/seek_app) is image recognition technology to identify plants and animals (Seek a used guide).

Science Journal App (https://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-journal-app). The free app, available for Android and iOS, transforms smartphones and other mobile devices into a suite of tools for hands-on science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM). Using sensors on smartphones and mobile devices, the app allows students to collect, visualise, and analyse data in real-time.

eBird (https://ebird.org/home) is among the world’s largest biodiversity-related science projects, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed annually by eBirders around the world.

GoBird (http://thenerdbirder.com). A fast, clean bird finding app based on eBird data. Guide to Nearby Birds to discover and identify birds around for free, anywhere in the world.

National Park Service (https://www.nps.gov/subjects/digital/nps-apps.htm) The National Park Service App is the brand new official app for all 420+ national parks of the USA.

Geocaching (https://www.geocaching.com/play) – a fun learning adventure anywhere you are and are going to visit. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.

DiscoveryTrack (https://avastusrada.ee/en)Locationbased discovery app

ActionTrack (https://www.taz.fi/) Locationbased game app

Actionbound (https://en.actionbound.com/) Locationbased game app