Pedagogy for Education on Sustainability: Integrating Digital Technologies and Learning Experiences Outside School
This paper reports on an inquiry into designing effective pedagogy to enhance students understanding on environmental education and its importance. This inquiry sought to provide insights on how to better plan for Learning Experiences Outside School (LEOS) and ways of integrating out of school activities with classroom practices using digital technologies, namely Moodle. This included identifying perceptions of students, teachers and Informal Science Institute (ISI) staff, of these experiences using semi-structured interviews, before, during and after the visit and assessing students’ learning experiences. This naturalistic study was conducted in a rural private religious school in New Zealand and comprised two phases. In the first phase, 102 Year 10 (14-year-old) students and 10 teachers visited an Informal Science Institution (ISI), a pest-controlled native forest called Island Ecological Reserve on the second last day of the year. It appears that LEOS was seen as a reward, instead of an informal learning experience where students could construct knowledge through social negotiations. The second phase occurred the following year, and 65 from the same cohort of students now in Year 11 (15-year-olds), visited the same ISI, to learn about why protecting New Zealand’s biodiversity is an issue, The important biological ideas about biodiversity, and differing viewpoints that people have about biodiversity. In this phase, there was emphasis placed on pre- and post-visit planning using a digitally integrating learning model. Data comprised photographs, field notes, unobtrusive observations of the classroom, student work books and teacher planning diaries. Student assessment results showed a significant increase in performance in achievement.