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The virtues of virtual field trips

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After a certain amount of technology woe (the laptop DVD drive died a horrible, grindy death), the IT manager at my workplace managed to do the (as it turns out, simple) job of installing the Teign Valley DVD on my work computer. What a splendid fellow. (We now have a new DVD drive on the laptop, so I'm currently studying at home. Win!)

On starting up the "tour guide" section of the DVD, I took the tour. Now, I'm the kind of girl who likes being told what to do.

  1. Start here.
  2. Click this.
  3. No, not that, you muppet, THIS.
  4. Listen and absorb.
  5. Keeping clicking the "next" arrows at the end of each section.
  6. Do the activities in order when prompted.

What I got was a rather fuzzy and chaotic set of non-instructions, leaving me unsure as to when the tour finishes, and the actual activities start. I'm still a little unsure, but I'm plodding on, and have completed my first activity - Differences on Dartmoor.

This takes you through a series of places in the Teign catchment, and asks you to look at various maps. You're provided with a spreadsheet, and you've to fill in the missing information. So far, so Sesame Street. One problem: the resources window on screen is tiny. Really, really tiny. And when you have an overlay on the map (e.g. contour lines, so you can give the altitude of the locations you're talking about), you can't zoom in. So you kind of have to guess at the exact measurements you're asked to take at the relevant locations.

This displeases me greatly, because I am, after all, a budding scientist. And there's no room for guesswork in precise measurements.

I'm about to embark upon activity 2 - The Heather Hypothesis. I'll keep you posted.

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