ESDplus – Integrating learning with geoinformation for a digitized and spatially enabled education for sustainable development (Duration: April 2023 – February 2025)
ESDplus is funded by the Earth System Sciences funding program of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) is an ambitious concept discussing, negotiating and implementing ecological, economic, and socio-cultural aspects. Its aim is to motivate and empower learners to change their behavior through acquiring knowledge, new skills, and attitudes relevant to act for a sustainable development. For effective and contemporary learning in ESD, innovative approaches are essential. An example is the application of information and communication technologies (ICT), including the use of digital geomedia, which enable the production, visualization, and presentation of location-based information (geodata). Digital geomedia include, among others, web mapping tools, virtual globes, data collection apps, or data visualization tools such as interactive maps. The use of digital geomedia in the educational field is summarized under the term “Learning with Geoinformation” (LwGI). In ESD, digital geomedia are currently being used to a very low extent. One reason for this is the lack of suitable teaching materials. In addition, ESD teachers often do not have the relevant digital and geomedial skills to use LwGI in ESD.
The project ESDplus addresses these issues. It designs (prototypical) integrated and online available teaching and training material that supports the implementation of LwGI in ESD by demonstrating how LwGI can be practically applied. It is based on problem- and project-based learning approaches and activities (thematic activation, exploration, reflection, and moderation). Comprehensive task descriptions tailored to different difficulty levels enable educators to engage diverse target groups. The training material assists ESD educators in acquiring relevant digital and geomedial competencies to utilize the teaching materials effectively and seamlessly. The developed material will be provided as “Open Educational Resources” (OER) and accessible under an open license. This allows ESD educators not only to use the material but also to further develop and customize single units accordingly.
The creation of teaching and training material is initially based on the results of a status quo analysis of LwGI in ESD. Furthermore, the development of the material is grounded in co-creation workshops involving ESD and geomedia experts. This development and evaluation process particularly involves the Biosphere Reserve Lungau in Salzburg, Austria, as well as the Biosphere Region Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, Germany. Both serve as model regions for ESD. Through partnerships with educational institutions such as schools and universities, they can assist in developing and disseminating new approaches and innovations in the field of ESD.
In sum, ESDplus aims to establish both theoretical and practical foundations for the utilization of LwGI in ESD, including the establishment of an LwGI-in-ESD community. By enhancing the integration of LwGI into ESD, the project aims to contribute to the ongoing development of ESD.