Our school, our environment: using technology to raise environmental awareness

Designed into these learning stories:

Narrative

There is a generally accepted need to raise environmental awareness among young people. For this to be effective students need to engage in work with authentic problems in a realistic context.  Engaging with the community is also important. But for this to be possible the work should link with the curriculum and existing teaching practice in the school and make use of attractive technologies that offer new ways of representing and managing energy use.

Narrative

I am initiating a curriculum mapping process with my fellow teachers in the school to identify a specific project around environmental awareness and plan cross-curricular activities in the school in the coming term. In chemistry we are looking at different types of plastics. In mathematics we are analysing the actual and projected energy use of the school. I am tasked with recycling.  We establish an area on the school learning platform where progress on the project can be tracked. We also use this as a place to plan our contacts with the local community who could be invited to speak or respond to questions via email and to identify video resources which could be used.

I start with a discussion in my classroom around the environment and ask students to research recycling in the community and their own homes, offering support as required.

My class works together on data gathering and presentation, making use of tools that help them to do this in a standard way and that perform immediate calculations on the data. They also interview people from within and outside of the school. My maths teacher colleague is fortunate to have access to real-time active monitoring devices in the school that feed information into the website. We also use iTEC tools to estimate our class’ and school’s carbon footprint.

Using the area on the platform prepared for this project, I help my students create a web site about their carbon usage and other environmental impacts of the school. We use animation, audio, video and photography to create digital stories to represent our consumption. They also use the materials to prepare printed materials and posters.

At the entrance to the school there is now a live display with updated information about school recycling.

Finally, I invite a colleague from a neighbouring school to see what we have done. This has become the basis for collaborative activities between the schools. This leads to distribution of posters and presentations during students’ assembly, and eventually to a special day for the schools in the area to come together to discuss their work. We are really pleased that all the schools get awarded an Eco-School badge! This gives us enough publicity that we are able to offer a consultancy to clients who want to carry out an environmental audit on their own activities.

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This post is also available in: Turkish

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