VIRTUE-s, Virtual Interactive Resources and Tools in Universal Education of the Sea

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The VIRTUE-s project focuses on developing innovative, digital and practical tools to increase the quality of teaching natural sciences using ocean-based examples with a project-based learning framework.

VIRTUE-s has eight partners (five scientific partners and three school partners) from Sweden, Germany, Spain and the USA. The project will provide a platform for expanding classroom pedagogy, including project-based science, with integrated fieldwork where pupils can drive research inquiries and questions by designing experiments to study marine biodiversity. This will provide the students with greater engagement in their work on a much more personal level and in a team-based approach. In this project, students and teachers will also participate in European collaborative media literacy learning experiences, which will give them opportunities to discuss global environmental issues and to understand similarities and differences in biodiversity in the ocean surrounding Europe.

VIRTUE-s will create innovative teaching packages with digital elements, an interactive biodiversity calculator, a training workshop on media literacy, a handbook on “Making a video on a scientific subject. A short guide to film making for upper secondary school” and teacher training courses, including a Massive Open Online Course on biofouling and Ocean Literacy.

The VIRTUE-s impact will lead to teachers being better equipped and more confident in using ICT tools. They will achieve higher digital competence and can introduce innovative ocean-related elements and tools in the classroom. They will also be able to link their teaching to the United Nations sustainable development goals and to connect their students with EU goals (e.g. equip/educate students to prepare for future job markets within the Blue Growth sector).

Students will be engaged by the hands-on and novel ICT elements of VIRTUE-s. They will work in teams, which will develop their social competences and increase self-awareness as well as their team-mates’ importance in producing a successful project. They will benefit from connecting across borders to discuss topics that we all have in common (such as biodiversity, climate change, ocean pollution, future/survival of the ocean and its sustainability). This will increase student awareness that to achieve a sustainable ocean ecosystem we need to work together.

Basic information

Country: Germany, Spain, Sweden, Other

Coordinator: University of Gothenburg, https://www.gu.se/

Programme: Erasmus+

Project Acronym:

Target groups: primary school students, researchers, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, under school-age kids, university students, youth clubs

Topic: Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Environmental sciences, Maths, Physics, Technology, Zoology, Education

Start year: 2017

End year: 2020

Url: https://virtue-s.eu/

Contact person: Susan Gotensparre, virtue-s (at) bioenv.gu.se

Schools upload data from fouling experiments in the database. This data is also accessible for researchers.

The following resources for teachers are available to carry out their VIRTUE project in several ways:

  • Species identification (ID) plates, which may be used as guides for recognising some of the fouling organisms growing on the plates. The organisms featured in the ID plates are just representatives of the group of organisms commonly found in fouling communities in temperate regions. You may find other representative organisms in your area.
  • The resources for quantification and analysis of discs gives practical tips on how to analyse the discs quantitatively and on what to do with the data gathered after disc analysis, like biodiversity calculations.
  • Pre-fabricated worksheets and protocol sheets here can be used as they are or they can act as templates for designing your own protocol sheets which fit your needs.
  • The sample class projects are descriptions of projects, which have already been piloted in schools in the different countries. You may get inspiration from these projects to design your own.
  • Games are fun ways for introducing a subject matter to students or for recapitulating results obtained in an experiment. The card games here can be played before, during or after a project, or just played to have fun!
  • We also have a Massive Open Online Course on marine biodiversity starting in April, 2020.
  • We will also publish a handbook “Making a video on a scientific subject. A short guide to film making for upper secondary school” on our website in the next few months.

SOMR available to any teacher, Ministry of Education, STEM expert during the current COVID-19 lock-down period:

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