Inquiry-to-Insight: A new way to teach Environmental Sciences
The Inquiry-to-Insight (I2I) project aims to promote environmental science education through digital tools. During the project I2I students from Europe collaborate with American students via social networking and other collaborative internet technologies to investigate and envision solutions to global environmental problems. I2I is a collaborative project between University of Gothenburg in Sweden and Stanford University in California.
I2I has created, developed and implemented two main digital tools that address ocean acidification and carbon footprints. These tools are designed for high school students.
The Ocean Acidification Virtual Lab (http://i2i.stanford.edu/AcidOcean/AcidOcean.htm) is an open access online curriculum which introduces students to ocean acidification (OA) and its possible biological impacts. Students become virtual scientists who investigate the impact of acidified water on the growth of sea urchin larvae.
During this virtual lab, students learn about OA and re-create a real laboratory experiment, and furthermore they also learn about science as a way of thinking.
In order to take proper action against environmental issues, it is important for students to understand their personal impact on climate change. I2I has therefore created a carbon footprint calculator (http://i2i.stanford.edu/NewFootprint/footprint.html) that provides detailed information on different footprints in different countries (e.g. based on electricity sources in different regions). It clearly shows how every small decision affects our carbon footprint, and allows the students to compare their footprints to an average footprint from their country.
I2I also promotes international collaboration through group projects in which students investigate specific environmental issues. During the project students create multimedia presentations based on their research, and these presentations will then be published online. I2I can also be used as a CLIL (content and language integrated learning) tool to learn English as second language.