1 Instituto de Educação da Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
2 Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (PORTUGAL)
3 Escola Superior de Educação João de Deus, Centro de Investigação e Estudos João de Deus; MARE – Marine and Environmental Sciences Centre (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Page: 1572 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.0415
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
In this work, an educational App centered on the exploration of the intertidal zone will be presented. The main objective of this App is to promote the acquisition of knowledge about natural resources linked to the Portuguese coast, specifically the intertidal zone, using two distinct coastal ecosystems, a rocky platform (Marine Protected Area of Avencas) and a marshland zone (Ria Formosa Natural Park). A set of diverse and complementary itineraries was created, involving various “exploration stations” located in each of these coastal ecosystems, related to the biodiversity of these places, with the adaptations characteristic of the resident species, with the external pressures to which they are subjected, including the human impacts that affect these places. These itineraries are offered in digital format, through an App that can be downloaded, free of charge, on any mobile technology, for devices with the Android operating system. This digital didactic resource is directed for school children. While physically (not virtually) walking throughout the proposed itineraries, the App draws the users’ attention to certain details. The challenges proposed are learner-centered, promoting direct in-situ observations and collaborative work. It could be used both in formal and informal learning contexts, namely by a teacher with his/her class, or in a family context. This project assumes that motivation and learning result from close contact with natural resources, and so the environment and natural spaces must be understood as rich “laboratories” to promote scientific and cultural learning. Moreover, we believe that mobile technologies are part of people's daily lives and have the potential to become powerful mediators in terms of learning. The project's ultimate objective is to promote ocean literacy, contributing to the development by all citizens, and particularly school children, of a deep understanding of the importance of the sea and its influence on their lives and the effects that their behavior can have on coastal ecosystems. This App was tested with a group of teachers (n=8) and their students (n=126), not only to access students’ learning but also to understand teacher's views about the importance of the use of this type of technology for science teaching. When asked to describe the app in three words, the most common responses among the students were educational, informative, interesting, appealing, and fun, because it is simple to use and allows users to learn more about biodiversity in an interactive manner, thereby promoting a greater awareness about the conservation of this marine protected area. They see the use of digital technologies in school contexts as beneficial and positive for students’ learning since they are adapted to today ’s generation and are a motivating tool. According to teachers, through this app, students can develop in-depth learning about scientific knowledge, ocean literacy and build environmental awareness. Moreover, they can also develop skills, such as social, digital, cooperation and autonomy. As a conclusion, according to both teachers and students, mobile technologies can be quite useful because they provide quick access to information. For these reasons, students' attention is stimulated by an engaging app that combines practice and theory with real-time feedback.

The project (FA_06_2017_011) is funded by Fundo Azul (Direção-Geral de Política do Mar).
Educational App, Mobile Learning, Ocean Literacy, Science Education.