This educational project has been carried out in 4 European countries, Slovakia, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Spain supported by three teacher training workshops: The first one was an internal workshop for educational consortia partners for initial project planning and project inception. The next two workshops were carried out inviting active teachers who developed the pilot testing of indicators at their schools in four countries after the training. Competences such as mathematics, science, social issues, foreign language, native language, entrepreneurship, learning to learn, the development of autonomy, and social interaction played a fundamental role since project-based learning was used. Besides, Bioprofiles allow the students to be the center of their own learning and the teacher role is facilitator-oriented offering the right educational context for learning.
This project was started in 2014, with ENVIMOBILE, an Erasmus plus project where seven 7 basic themes for environmental education were identified: Water, Energy, Air, Biodiversity, Cultural and Natural Legacy, Human environment, and Waste. Now in Bioprofiles, we moved forward and for each topic, a couple of simple indicators have been developed (see table 1) to apply them as a pilot initiative in selected subjects in 5 schools in the Region of Murcia (Spain). This experience was repeated in a similar number of schools in each partner’s countries. The whole results were presented at national online conferences during November and December 2020.
- Support teaching professional development by acquiring competencies to actively apply environmental issues in a cross-cutting manner.
- Design, test, and evaluate innovative open educational materials and resources in different subjects enhancing digital competencies.
- Apply project-based methodologies to strengthen relevant teamwork and XXI Century competencies.
- Use simple citizen science indicators to monitor the local environment and increasing awareness of change and sustainability.
- An international teacher training programme.
- A basic environmental education guide – (Environmental minimum).
- Two publications: a Handbook publication for teachers and a student guide with all 14 indicators for indoor and outdoor learning.
- A selected collection of multi-format and multi-level open educational resources (OER).
All activities can be carried out in the classroom and outdoors, with a multidisciplinary research component using INTERNET information and a digital competency component to work with pre-existing and collected data on-site under common protocols and as part of cooperative and collaborative work in the classroom.
The communication competence will be doubly strengthened during the presentation of results at a local level in mother tongue by students and teachers, as well as for international dissemination of the project at the European level as they can be also carried out in a foreign language (English).
In December 2020, the results of at least 5 schools in each country (20 schools in total and at various levels of education) as educational communities became part of BIOPROFILES achievements as an open educational resource (OER) for the global educational community, offering an innovative outlook for sustainability.
Finally, Bioprofiles offers a clear interdisciplinary opportunity for STEM education since the whole approach provides a better understanding of school environmental contexts. It also improves collaboration and teamwork among students but also amongst different school subjects (Maths, Science, Arts, Social, geography, Technology, Communication, amongst others).
Working with these indicators will allow teachers to be more confident for outreaching, and the students truly have an opportunity to work outside the classroom and see more clear relations between the real world and their school or family.
The whole experience allows us to contribute to any teacher professional development and shows students more real jobs related to caring and monitoring our own surroundings in a more healthy and sustainable status.
For more information, please visit: www.teachinggreen.eu
About the author: Juan Diego López Giraldo is an educator by nature. He is a Scientix Ambassador in Spain. He has a degree in Biology and an MSc in Science from Newcastle Upon Tyne University and a Diploma in Education from Murcia University where he is working now as an associate professor (part-time job). He is also Managing Director of VITA XXI.com, a small consultancy firm focus on educational and environmental projects towards sustainability.