BRIEF REPORT

 
 

HP Interactive mobile technology in Mathematical and Science courses

Project manager Prof. Dr. Dušanka Perišić
Project coordinator Doc. Dr. Snežana Radulović

The main goal of this project was to improve the teaching/learning environment of a selected course in Plant Ecology (ОЕ017) using integrated mobile HP technology. Mobility and a unique on-screen inking capability of the tablet pc were one of the major tools in the redesigned course.

March/April 2009

Several assessments were performed

1.      Dividing 102 students  into two groups:  Treatment groups and Comparison groups. Both groups were pre- evaluated using the same questionnaire.

2.      Giving one month advanced classes in GIS, using a mobile classroom, including both:

a.       Indoor lectures and exercise (at the University)

b.       Outdoor lectures and exercise, during five days field work in Deliblatska pescara Nature Reserve

As the practical work of ecological courses ОBЕ011 and ОЕ017 involved observational and analytical work, both indoors (data analyses) and outdoors (field and sampling techniques used to characterize vegetation), the focus of this work was to improve mapping and field-data collection that  included: synthesise data from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats; analyse spatial vegetation data;  present information in maps;  use a global positioning system (GPS) in ecological research - using the GPS receiver;  georeferencing air photos; creating shape file, analysing biodiversity. Mobility of technology was highly important in the field work, as it allowed mapping and field-data collection using a computer-based method, manipulating and analyzing data about spatial distributions of different vegetation types and protected species.

 

3.      Comparison across topics

4.      Analysis of courses' outcomes in terms of attendance at lectures, numbers of enrolled students, grades and level of students' independent work.

 

All documentation (students’ tests, final exam documentation, project questionnaires and students’ projects) will be kept as a University archive, and available to the HP CSR contact person. 

A clear, full summary after the semester report will be sent to the HP CSR contact person.

Powerpoint presentations of lectures given, exercises, photo gallery and video documentation are attached to this draft report.

 

FIELD WORK

Europian Sahara - Deliblato Sands - a place of extremes

Deliblato Sands is located in the southern part of Serbia between the River Danube and the western Carphatian slopes. It is 354 km long and approximately 11 km wide and it extends as an ellipse in the direction of south east tonorth west. Deliblato Sands represents a unique phenomenon in Europe by its genesis, orography, climate and specific flora and fauna, so it was called the European Sahara at one time.
The region is famed for its high degree of endemism, including many unique plants, reptiles and insects. It is also home to one of the greatest variety of mammals in Europe, with such rarities as European molerats, marbled polecats and at least three packs of grey wolves.


The Deliblato Sands is a geo-morphological formation of eolian origin, of exceptional beauty and wide-ranging scientific importance. It is of diluvial origin. It is an isolated complex of sand masses with a distinctly undulating dune relief in an area of over 380 km2, of elongated ellipsoid shape, surrounded by the expanses of the cultured steppe of the Panonian Plain.

The dunes of yellow and grey sand with maximum elevations of ca 200m above sea level (Pluc - 192 m; Crni vrh - 189 m.) stretch in a straight southeast-northwest direction like the whole complex of the Sands.The physical properties of the sand and soil are the reason for the specific hydrology and meso-climate of this area. There are no surface watercourses and the only hydrological facilities are dug and drilled wells (some 30 of them), from 100-400m deep, and three permanent natural waterholes in smaller depressions in the south-eastern part.

The masses of the windblown sand of what used to be the "European Sahara" are today mainly stabilized by vegetation, restored by man in planned fashion during the past 170 years. About 16,000 ha is under forest - mainly cultivated pure stands of Scotch and black pine, black locust, poplar, etc., and somewhat less under mixed stands of linden, English and pubescent oak, poplar, flowering ash, and other species. In addition to the cultivated forests, in the Deliblato Sands there are smaller preserved remains of originally autochthonous forests of English oak with linden and Lily-of-the-valley (Convalaria majalis).
Rare fauna in this reserve includes species found in steppe habitats: desert ant, ant-lion, Banat falcon, imperial eagle, steppe gerbil, ground squirrel, mole rat, steppe skunk and others. For some of them Deliblatska peščara (Deliblato Sands) is the only or one of few remaining habitats in Serbia. A distinctive feature of the reserve is the permanent wolf population (20 individuals) .

This protected natural asset also covers part of the River Danube with marshes and aits. Waters abounding in fish and a number of hatcheries represent an important gathering-point and mass wintering grounds of waterfowl. This is why Deliblato Sands was designated as an Important Bird Area in 1989 (IBA). It is also the nesting place of many rare species such as little egret, yellow heron, ibis and sand-martin. Small cormorant - a highly endangered species in Serbia - has its only safe nesting place here.

As the last and largest oasis of sand, steppe, forest and marsh vegetation which once dominated the Pannonian Plain, SNR ‘Deliblatska peščara' is one of the most important centres of biodiversity in Serbia and Europe as well as the most important steppe in Serbia. This reserve, therefore, represents a unique study site for science.