Virtual Ocean Acidification Laboratory as an Efficient Educational Tool to Address Climate Change Issues
As the carbon dioxide concentration in the air is increasing, the oceans are changing: they are getting warmer (global warming) and more acidic (ocean acidification). These threats are very likely to have substantial impacts on marine ecosystems and on terrestrial species that depend on the oceans (e.g. human beings). To prevent the most dramatic consequences of such changes to the climate, citizens need to take collective actions. In that respect, education is a key factor to increase our awareness and understanding of climate change. Within the educational project Inquiry-to-Insight (I2I) we have developed, implemented, and tested Information Communication Technology (ICT) tools addressing the climate change issue with high school students.
One such tool that we have developed is an open access virtual animation and laboratory on ocean acidification (OA). This tool allows students to improve their background knowledge of OA and to become virtual scientists, conducting and analysing research on the effect of ocean acidity on a key and well known marine organism: sea urchin. Our results from a pilot study in two high schools in Sweden and California indicate that the OA I2I activities in particular, and other I2I tools in general, increase students’ awareness and understanding of OA.
KeywordsEducation Ocean acidification Virtual laboratory ICT Climate change Scientific method
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