A. Barreto, F. Santos

Polytechnic Institute of Leiria (PORTUGAL)
The Sustainable Earth Project was a one year project funded by the Portuguese Development Cooperation Institute (an institute of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs) to promote Development Education (DE) on the 7th goal of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals (the goal of Environmental Sustainability). The project involved two institutions from Portugal (a Non Governmental Organization for Development and a higher education institution) and a Non Governmental Organization for Development from the Portuguese-speaking African country of Guiné-Bissau.
One of the objectives of this project was the creation of educational resources to be disseminated and used in formal education in the 5th and 6th grade schools, both in Portugal (in the district of Leiria) and Guiné-Bissau (in the regions of Suzana and Iale). These resources would be created with the objective of mobilizing and capacitating both students and teachers to the global problem of excessive use of the natural resources, a problem that asks for local interventions at a personal and community level.

This paper presents the digital educational resources that were created for this project and also some digital technologies used to involve several other actors in their creation: 1) we present an educational game created to teach children the concept of “ecological footprint” and how it was designed under the recent multimedia methodologies that promote Game Based Learning (GBL). 2) we present webquests and treasure hunts that were created by teachers in specialized training in the higher education institution (for their students) on the theme of sustainability, and 3) we present the use of a learning management system as a methodology for both the production of pedagogical resources and for the training of teachers. This paper also aims to present the theoretical framework that supports these kinds of digital resources (Games, Webquests, Treasure hunts) in educational contexts, following the most well known learning theories and pedagogical models.

Our experience in this project has led us to conclude that a student-centered classroom and learning methods, based in construtivistic approaches and Problem Based Learning (PBL), contributes to the creation of the student’s active citizenship on the issues of sustainability, which is seen as absolutely necessary to promote and reach the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals.