This good practice reports an open schooling initiative about the Europen Connect program, which was developed by the 2nd Experimental Lyceum of Leukada and Biology teacher Dr. Dimitrios Ch. Lazaris during 30/11/2022 to 12/04/2023. The activities included a professional in science Forestry and Management of Environment and Natural Resources. It was supported by Dr. Georgios Panselinas Coordinator of the CONNECT Educational Informatics Project who provided information and guidance. This practice was presented at an event that organized the 2nd Experimental Lyceum of Lefkada and on the Connect platform.
Care: Students were interested in and investigated the special characteristics of the island through the online collection of data on the natural & technical environment of Lefkada’s island. The pollution of the natural environment, especially the coastal shores is a real-life problem where in many cases, the natural environment can be turned into an unjustified receiver of pollutants by local and tourist activities. This could negatively affect the island’s natural environment in the future. The students who participated in the activities were twenty-one (21), male and female students of the A and B Grades of the 2nd Experimental Lyceum of Lefkada, aged 16-17.
Know: Students used knowledge about of Natural Sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. Biology was used as a basis for understanding ecology and ecotoxicology. The skills that the students practiced were multiple such as:
Do: At the end, the students prepared an electronic informational material which they posted on the school’s website. This was after a metacognitive evaluation of the data on Lefkada’s geophysical characteristics and the potential areas of pollution on the island. They also published an article in the school newspaper about the natural environment of the island. In the article, the students proposed ways to protect the environment, especially in the summer months when tourism increases. With the help of the Biology teacher in charge, the
students created a poster that refers to their actions in relation to the study of biodiversity and the study of potential pollution areas on the island of Lefkada. In addition, the students’ work was presented at the annual event of the Excellence and Creativity Clubs and activities of the current school year 2023, at the 2nd Experimental Lyceum of Leukada. The President of the Governing Committee of the Model Experimental Schools, Mr. Tombras, the mayor of the city, teachers, representatives of local agencies, and students of the school were invited to the event. They completed the activities as a group and were supported by their family, and their classmates by sharing good practices and ideas. The parents were especially supportive of the students as they helped them search and record reports on the pollution phenomenon, twenty years ago on the island.
Findings related to Open Schooling approach: The activity was fitted and adapted to the curriculum as it combined chapters from Natural Science courses including Biology, Physics and Chemistry. The activity is an innovation in education because through it students can use scientific data and elements to solve problems in their daily life, such as issues of ecological balance and environmental pollution (decision-making ability). The purpose of this activity is the cultivation of citizenship, where students, as tomorrow’s citizens and/or bioscientists, are called upon to make decisions about the environment, health, safety, and, in general, about any category of challenge that will arise from the applications of Biology/Ecology in our society. Open schooling might be both useful and challenging for teachers because it promotes students’ active participation by creating learning environments that will be governed by the principles of modern teaching methodology, such as inquiry learning and experiential and communicative approaches, encouraging critical thinking and creativity.
Change/innovation supported by: [X] schoolhead [X] school association/network [X] local government
[ ] Other:
Students’ Outcomes: The students initially showed a great interest in getting to know the natural and artificial environment of their island. In the Informatics laboratory, they watched a video showing the natural environment of Lefkada such as habitats, lagoons, and mountains combined with the human-made environment i.e. houses and tourist accommodations. The online Webex communication with the scinetist Dr.Vasilios Drosos, professor of the Department of Forestry and Environmental and Natural Resources Management of the Democritus University of Thrace, excited the students because they were given the opportunity to answer their key questions about pollution and the environment and to participate in a discussion as responsible and active members of an action. Students, as the most dynamic part of society, were receptive to learning during the seminar. This created a climate of mutual trust and interaction between the scientist and students. Furthermore, the students were excited about the use of google map, iNaturalist database and Filotis database for mapping and locating cities of Lefkada with a greater percentage of pollution with the use of software even though they were initially cautious. Some of the students mentioned “Is it possible that the software we find very easily on the internet can provide us with such a large amount of information?”, “Can we also map the other islands in the Ionian Sea?”.
[X] families’ engagement in science [X] girls’ participation in science. [X] students’ science careers awareness
Please justify: The contribution of the students’ families was decisive in the success of the activity. This is because they helped the students search and record reports on the phenomenon of pollution twenty years ago on the island and compare them with today’s data. The participation rate of female students in the total number of students who participated in the activity was expected to be 52.4% (11/21). A large percentage of students expressed an interest in the following professions related to the Schools of Health Sciences (Medicine, Biosciences, Nursing) and Positive Sciences (Physics, Chemistry).