Field Guide: Designing Mobile Interactive Tools for Place-Based Learning

  • Team:
  • Type: FCT - PORTUGAL 2020
  • Category:National Research Project
  • 2018 to 2022


We created Field Guide to conceptualise, design, and test technologically mediated learning modes in natural environments with children and teenagers living in the Azorean archipelago. With a team comprising researchers from diverse knowledge domains such as biology, psychology, anthropology, and human-computer interaction, we explored the relationship between the digital realm and the challenges facing biodiverse environments. As a result, the project sought to provide learning opportunities by offering a local audience interactive learning experiences in nature-rich settings. Through our efforts, we developed four physical outputs, a cultural probe toolkit, a mobile app, an outdoor activity book aimed at teachers and students in the Azores, and a tangible interaction device called Tree Box. 

More details in the Project website:



The Field Guide project started in December 2018 and concluded in September 2022. It was supported by FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, a Portuguese public agency that supports science, technology and innovation in all scientific domains. FCT project reference number: PTDC/CED/EDG/31182/2017


Regional Secretariat for the Environment and Climate Change (Nature Park of Terceira) and

Regional Secretariat for Education of the Regional Government of the Azores



Maria Figueiredo (Adjunct Professor, Polytechnic Institute of Viseu),

Tânia Fonseca (Senior Lecturer, Kingston University London),

Paulo A.V. Borges (Assistant Professor, University of the Azores),

Nuno Nunes (Full Professor, Instituto Superior Técnico).


We hope you enjoy learning about Field Guide.


List of publications under the project:

Silva, A. R., Gabriel, R., Amorim, I. R., Arroz, A. M. & Matos, S. (2022). À (re)descoberta da natureza: Guia de atividades pedagógicas. Angra do Heroísmo: Universidade dos Açores. [português; 57 pp.] ISBN: 978-989-8870-41-4


Gabriel, R. & Borges, P.A.V. (eds.) (2022). Guia prático da flora nativa dos Açores/ Field guide of the Azorean native flora. Instituto Açoriano de Cultura, Angra do Heroísmo. [edição bilingue; 520 pp.] ISBN:978-989-8225-74-0              


Matos, S., Silva A. R., Sousa, D., Picanço, A., Amorim, I. R., Gabriel, R. & Arroz A. M. (2022). Cultural Probes for Environmental Education: Designing Learning Materials to Engage Children and Teenagers with Local Biodiversity. Plos-One. doi:


Piasentin, Gabriel, R., Arroz, A. M., Silva, A. R., & Amorim, I. R. (2021). What Is Most Desirable for Nature? An Analysis of Azorean Pupils’ Biodiversity Perspectives When Deciding on Ecological Scenarios. Sustainability (Basel, Switzerland), 13 (22), 12554–. doi:


Sousa, D, Silva, A. R., Amorim, I. R., Ashby, S. , Arroz, A. M., Piasentin, F., Gabriel, R. and Matos, S.  (2021) The Field Guide App: Connecting Island Communities to Local Conservation through Mobile Interaction. Supplementary Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Communities & Technologies (C&T’21), Seattle, WA, 20-25 June. doi:


Picanço, A., Arroz, A., Amorim, I., Matos, S., & Gabriel, R. (2020) Teachers’ perspectives and practices on biodiversity web portals as an opportunity to reconnect education with nature. Environmental Conservation, 48(1), 25-32. doi:


Picanço, A., Gabriel, R., Arroz, A.M., Amorim, I.R., Silva, A.R., Sousa, D. & Matos, S. (2020). Um guia digital para a Natureza: promover a floresta dos Açores com aprendizagem baseada no lugar. Uaciência


Funding Institution

FCT - Total Budget: 239938 euros


The Project management is performed by M-ITI (, and Prof. Sónia Matos as PI workong on the Polo Científico e Tecnológico da Madeira. Prof. Rosalina Gabriel is CO_PI and about 65000 Euros will be managed by Fundação Gaspar Fructuoso within cE3c - Azorean Biodiversirty Group.