1 Loughborough University (UNITED KINGDOM)
2 Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research (CIIMAR/CIMAR), University of Porto (PORTUGAL)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Pages: 5058-5067
ISBN: 978-84-697-9480-7
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2018.0998
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
In 2012, the European Commission published the Horizon 2020 strategy which identified the ‘blue growth’, or the sustainable use of the oceans, as a core societal challenge not only in Europe but other regions as well [1]. However, according to Guest et al. [2], the health of the marine environment continues to be threatened by human activity, despite the fact that the value of the ocean has long been recognized. They argue for the need of a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches to ensure the sustainability of ocean resources. People's poor understanding of marine science and ocean issues is identified as an obstacle to individual behaviour changes in many countries. Guest et al. [2] also recognize that the low levels of understanding about ocean science are evident among students in a number of countries, while there is 'growing awareness that formal education curricula do not adequately communicate ocean science to young people'. Furthermore, given the difficulty of understanding complex systems like the ocean, the use of models, computer simulations, and first-hand experiences can strongly enhance learning and teaching.

The paper analyses pupils’ preferences for different types of media when acquiring information about science, as reported by a sample of pupils in Portugal and the UK. Specifically, it intends to investigate the pupils’ modes of gaining information about ocean-related topics by using different platforms as well as the media sources of information (such as TV, radio, computer, mobile platforms, magazines, or books) which are associated with higher levels of ocean literacy knowledge. Moreover, the paper analyses if mobile educational game-like applications with ocean related content could be a useful learning tool, as well as which are the most used applications by science teachers in an educational context.

The study uses quantitative methodology and the data were collected between March and October 2017 by means of an online survey. The survey was administered to pupils who were studying science in years 7, 8, 9 (12 to 14 years) and to science teachers of six schools in Portugal and three schools in the UK. A total of 132 pupils and 21 teachers responded the survey in Portugal and 328 students and 20 teachers responded the survey in UK.

Regarding the preferred source to get information about the ocean, findings indicate that the computer is clearly the preferred media, while the radio is the least chosen option by pupils in both countries. Moreover, findings show that over 35% of UK teachers and around 90% of Portuguese teachers consider that a mobile educational game-like application with ocean-related topics could be a useful learning tool and around 77% of UK teachers and 84% of Portuguese teachers say that they would use such educational applications as pedagogic tools.

[1] European Commission. 2012. Blue Growth Opportunities for Marine and Maritime Sustainable Growth, COM (2012) 494 Final. Brussels, Belgium.
[2] Guest, H., Lotze, H. K., & Wallace, D. (2015). Youth and the sea: Ocean literacy in Nova Scotia, Canada. Marine Policy, 58, 98–107.
Education technology, blended learning, secondary education, ocean literacy.