City University of Hong Kong (HONG KONG)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN13 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Page: 6419 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-616-3822-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 5th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2013
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Pollution is the by-product of industrialization and urbanization. Growing cities throughout the world have suffered from issues of air, water and waste pollution, independent of their sizes, population and urban complexity. Clean and healthy city environments have been demanded by urban dwellers and are considered essential elements of quality living. To be able to develop a sustainable atmosphere, it is necessarily to apply new technologies to tackle these problems. Recent research and development on pollution controls and sustainable designs have shed light on future quality living. Government policies and the economic factors related to pollution drive the rapid development of these innovative technologies.
A new course, named “Urban Green City: Pollution and Solution”, was developed and aimed to provide students with an understanding of contemporary pollution issues, to broaden students’ knowledge about technological movement of air, water and waste management. Moreover, it is intended to raise his/her understanding of impacts of environmental policies and implementation costs on the overall pollution problems. The course encourages students to discover pollution problems through interactive teaching media and to engage them with the think-outside-the-box mentality on the current environmental issues, preparing them to face future pollution challenges. It is an interdisciplinary course consisting of both environmental engineering and environmental policies that will enrich the students’ understanding of current pollution issues from different perspectives.
Two innovative instructional tools were developed. The first tool involves basic science concepts, environmental system and pollution control technology. The SCRATCH computer programming for the virtual world, is adopted to allow students to combine science concepts they have learned from the lecture and create their own virtual world animation to understand the complex interrelationship of an environmental system. The SCRATCH programming is an open platform and has been widely used for both research and teaching in the areas of environmental and hydrological systems. It is an interactive and creative tool for learning science concepts without drawing a rigid science boundary for students.
The second tool emphasizes environmental policy and pollution economics. A new board game, named “urban pollution world” facilitates the students’ learning. The game is designed to incorporate pollution problem, environmental policy and pollution economics within the gaming environment. By playing the game, students grasp the knowledge of such complex factors as the role of government in environmental policy-making and how those policies influence business and engineering decision-making. The idea of the game is similar to Monopoly, the board game, where a single economical system is embedded into the game. In our case, a single pollution world is presented inside the game. Ultimately, students are required to propose a new rule to the game at the end of the semester and lead to revolute the change of policy necessarily to promote sustainability inside the game. It is intended to stretch students’ creativity by guiding them through a new paradigm.
Environmental Education, pollution, SCRATCH, board game.