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A glimpse of the future

Mudlarking in Deptford

Mobile technologies can make learning a richer and more immediate process as exemplified by trials currently in process for the NESTA Futurelab's Mudlarking in Deptford project in South East London.

Key Stage 3 learners are using handheld devices with GPS capability to explore the muddy banks of the River Thames and surrounding area to piece together the past, present and future uses of the site. The technology designed to support this project gives location-sensitive information via the handheld device, triggered when the user walks into designated node areas. Participants can also create new 'triggers': whenever information comes to light in the form of finds in the mud, memories from local residents, visions of how the area could develop, or discoveries of how it once was, learners capture the information in multimedia formats to add to a virtual tour via a wireless connection.

A web-based forum has furthered the potential of this project by providing opportunities to discuss and develop learners' thinking in conjunction with their peers and a range of experts, making them the designers, creators and evaluators of a unique historical and environmental study. In this way, the learning process has become an outcome to share with others.

The project is ongoing - further information can be found on the NESTA Futurelab website.