VIRTUE has received EU funding of 310 224 euros through the "Erasmus + Strategic Partnership School program" to develop and internationalise the marine part of VIRTUE. The project started in September 2017 and will be finished in September 2020.
The project has been named VIRTUE-s and partners are:
GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany
SUBMON in Barcelona, Spain
University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Baltimore, USA
University West, Sweden
Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden (coordinator).
Three high schools also participate as partners, represented in Sweden by Öckerö Seglande Gymnasieskola, in Germany by Hebbelschule in Kiel and in Spain Daina Isard in Barcelona.
VIRTUE-s will create and conduct joint media literacy activities (between pupils from three different countries working on oceanrelated topics), e.g. video conferencing, collaborative media productions, on-line biodiversity calculator.
On the website, VIRTUEDATA, we have a digital basic marine species identification guide and tools for registering findings, uploading images and blogging about the schools projects' etc.
In addition, we will include Quick Response (QR) codes in some resources and show how they can be used in the classroom.
Achievement of relevant and high quality skills and competences:
Virtue-s will provide a platform for expanding classroom pedagogy to include models of project-based science. We will integrate fieldwork into classroom instruction and provide the opportunity for pupils to drive the research inquiry and questions by designing experiments to study biofouling and their development. This provides pupils with an almost limitless number of research questions and partners the importance of experimental design and new imaging technology, together with traditional microscopy and basic ecology. The 21st century learning skills of collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity all come into play in the project. In addition, it offers opportunities for pupils to participate in international collaborative learning experiences. This willengage pupils to improve their intercultural awareness, personal development and cross-cultural skills and give them opportunities to discuss global environment issues (e.g. biodiversity, climate change, ocean pollution, future/survival of the oceans), with their peers.
Promoting the acquisition of skills and competences:
VIRTUE-s aims at providing pupils with skills and competences not only in the natural sciences and maths, but also to enhance their chances in the harsh competition in the job market.
- Through the hypothesis-based approach of VIRTUE-s, the pupils will learn problem solving, an indispensable attribute in coping with the daily challenges they will encounter in their future careers.
- Critical thinking is one of the attributes the pupils will develop with the VIRTUE-s methodology: Did we use the right number of replicates, was our methodology the right one to answer our questions, do our results represent what is actually happening in the ecosystem? These are some of the questions they will be posing to themselves during their projects, and this will require them to think analytically.
- Working in teams will develop social competences among the pupils. This will make them aware of their own as well as their team mates’ importance in making a project work.
- Communicating and reporting about their projects to fellow pupils also on a transnational basis will cultivate their language and communication skills, as well as expand their horizons learning about cooperation and sharing ideas with their European peers.
- The teaching packages in VIRTUE-s will encourage collaboration between teachers belonging to different faculties, schools and countries, encouraging them to cooperate and learn from each other.
- The “hands-on” approach of the VIRTUE-s experiments is a stark contrast to the “detached” nature of textbook learning, thus making teaching for the teachers exciting again. Teaching in a “classroom in nature” offers a special motivation to adopt the innovative practices offered by VIRTUE-s.
The project have six "outcomes":
O1. VIRTUE-s teaching packages
O2. Further development courses for teachers
O3. Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)
O4. Video - pedagogical communication tool
O5. Pedagogical IT tool calculating Biodiversity
O6. VIRTUEDATA - improvements