Educating environmental awareness

2 February 2018

Oil sheen resulting from the Exxon Valdez accident
Oil sheen resulting from the Exxon Valdez accident (Image courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA)

A pan-European team of academic staff will develop a range of innovative educational tools focusing on raising environmental consciousness among school children.

Awareness of environmental issues has arguably never been higher, yet environmental consciousness is not something that is usually associated with classroom teaching. The Sea4All (Enhancing critical thinking in schools for marine pollution using innovative ICT technologies) project team, including Dr Tiago Alves, a Senior Lecturer at the Cardiff University and scientific coordinator of the project, recently recognised this gap in the curriculum of schools and teachers across Europe.

Coming together under the ERASMUS + framework, the network of academics from institutions in Crete, Greece, Romania, Cyprus and Cardiff have been funded to develop innovative educational tools that aim to raise environmental consciousness among school children.

Marine pollution will be the focus of the new curriculum, which will explore scenarios for oil spills and floating objects, as well as presenting a global view of the consequences of environmental pollution in the present and in the future. The new curriculum will also feature specially developed games, and an educational portal with animations, collection of maps, photos, videos, scientific data and questionnaires for teachers to utilise.

Teaching materials will be developed in collaboration with teachers and will involve aspects of all science disciplines to provide a holistic picture. They will involve exploratory learning and creative activities through free ICT tools so that teachers can address multiple learning styles, and facilitate learning that takes the interests, goals and preferences of their students into account and increases their self-motivation.