The PlaceTools project seeks to clarify how our perceptions of
places are shaped by how we approach them. We want to understand
how new tools can enhance our direct experience of places, increase
efficient data collection and leverage the usability of collected
We have used architectural design classes as vehicles for trying
out and observing different methods for examining places. University
of Oregon (UO) architecture students have used different techniques
to record and understand the existing environments, as a prelude
to designing for these places.
We started with traditional techniques of sketching and photography
to reveal factors critical for new tools. These methods connected
our investigation to the scholarship of representation and helped
us catalog kinds of place information and phases of the collection,
analysis and presentation process. Observations are summarized in
Capturing Place, published at CAAD
Futures 2001 in the Netherlands.
During 2002-2003, with the help of a UO Educational Technology
Curriculum Development grant, we have been looking at how digital
tools could help in the field collection of information. After selecting
a variety of new mobile tools for collecting visual and spatial
information, we have tested them in a variety of small group contexts.
The intentions of how mobile tools could improve education are articulated
in the grant
Because of the experimental nature and logistical complexity of
the tools, we have continued small trials of several tools rather
than widespread deployment of a single technology. Interim
results were recorded in Fall 2002.
Practical considerations for using mobile digital tools in an educational
setting are summarized in a paper for CAADRIA 2003, "Using
Mobile Tools for Learning About Places".