16 SES 08 A, Mobile Technology
This paper describes the groundwork for a major trans-European project, PhenoloGIT, in which a collaboratively created educational environmental information platform, supported by state-of-the-art mobile technology and Geographical Information Technologies (GIT), is designed, built and tested for use in schools across Europe. A theoretical rationale, initial needs analysis on the current use of GIT and mobile digital technologies to gather phenological data by schools is presented. Teachers’ engagement with the development of a PhenoloGIT App is described.
Environmental understanding and conservation is on the curricula for the compulsory years of schooling across Europe (Walsh, 1988). Phenology is the study of the timing of recurring biological events in the animal and plant world, the causes of their timing with regard to biotic and abiotic forces, and the interrelation among phases of the same or different species (Lieth (1974). Collection of phenological data is a long established ‘Citizen Science’ activity across Europe, with national and even international associations gathering individual data sets provided by thousands of people each year (van Vliet, 2003). Phenological enquiry is not only an engaging activity that can be carried out with children at school from the earliest age but is also central to an understanding of the interactions between the atmosphere and the biosphere (Landenburger, et al, 2006, Mayer, 2010). The study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and inter-annual variations in climate, together with the databases that can be created, is highly pertinent to core curricular subjects such as science, mathematics and geography in both primary and secondary education. It is a study area which also has great potential to make connections and inspire work across the curriculum, including literature, art, dance and music.
PhenoloGIT (2015-18) allows students and teachers not only to make scientific observations within their local environment and gather new data in an intuitive and engaging way, but also to acquire complex knowledge, by collaboratively creating and sharing new information, using open-source tailored educational tools to analyse and reflect on graphical, spatial and mathematical data sets transnationally. These tools and resources and the platform from which they are launched are based - and will be released - as open source tools with free licenses to promote use and development of PhenoloGIT in the years ahead by an increasing number of schools across Europe.
PhenoloGIT utilises everyday mobile devices (phones and tablets with GPS) together with accessible and open source tools compliant with international standard in conjunction with newly designed, attractive learning materials and study guides based on STEM curricula, and suggesting possible extension work across the whole curriculum. The potential of phenology for cross curricular studies has been known since the early exploratory days of the internet in education (Seddon and Baggott la Velle, (1999). PhenoloGIT will provide schools with free tools and guidance, not only for teaching and learning about and sharing environmental information, but also to enable them to create their own projects. Teachers and technicians collaborate with university academics and technologists in the design of the project to ensure that it is accessible to all teachers, even those with only basic ICT skills. PhenoloGIT therefore supports European schools in creating a live network where reflection on data collected from local environments leads to an engaging learning experience that has lasting value through the life course of future European citizens.
Landenburger, R.E. Warner, T.A., Ensign, T.I., Nellis, M.D. (2006) Using Remote Sensing and GIS to Teach Inquiry‐Based Spatial Thinking Skills: An Example Using the GLOBE Program's Integrated Earth Systems Science. Geocarto International 21 (3), 61-71 Lieth, H. (1974) Phenology and seasonality modeling. Ecol. Stud. 8. New York:Springer-Verlag Mayer, A. (2010) Phenology and Citizen Science. BioScience 60 (3): 172-175. Walsh, S.J. (1988) Geographic Information Systems An Instructional Tool for Earth Science Educators. Journal of Geography Volume 87, Issue 1, 17-25. Seddon, K & Baggott La Velle, L. (1999) The Butterfly 'Sight' - Using the Internet in Education. School Science Review, 81:61-68 van Vliet , A.J. et al. (2003) The European Phenology Network. International Journal of Biometeorology 47 (4) 202-212
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