E-LEARNING IN SUPPORT TO EDUCATIONAL FIELD TRIPS – A SUBJECT AND PLATFORM INDEPENDENT CURRICULUM AND TEACHER TRAINING MODEL, BASED ON PRACTICE
, D. Zahariev2
1Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" (BULGARIA)
2“Konstantin Preslavsky” University of Shumen (BULGARIA)
The paper provides a common framework curriculum model for conducting e-learning enriched field trips, and for training teachers and university lecturers in integrating e-learning to support their practice of conducting field trips. Here “e-learning” is considered as a system of integrated or connected information and communication technology (ICT) tools, where the communication, learning materials and activities are mainly conducted or mediated through World Wide Web.
The main goal of the paper is to help teacher trainers and teachers in enriching and maximising the learning advantages brought to learners by the field trips, through the integration of e-learning in the processes of field trip preparation, implementation, and follow-up.
The paper is based on the author’s experience in two European ICT projects - a biodiversity identification training project, and an inquiry-based learning project, as well as on his experience in teaching e-learning design to university and in-service teachers and students.
The paper first briefly outlines the nature, possible types, activities, and educational value of field trips, as summarised in the educational literature and practice. Then it outlines stages of active learning and their role in learning acquisition, as described in theory, and considers the possible places of the field trips within the continuum of passive-active learning.
On that base the question is considered about whether and how e-learning can enrich and maximise the learning outcomes and benefits, accumulated through field trips, by shifting the field trip related activities towards the highest active learning stages in the continuum, through the use of e-learning environments and activities that complement and enrich the field trip activities and learning outcomes. For that reason a classification of e-learning functionalities that can enrich field trips’ environment is made, grouping the useful e-learning functionalities in five successive categories: Critical success field trips learning supporters; Presentation & production facilitators; Communication organisers & facilitators; Ideas generation facilitators; Teaching, feedback, and assessment facilitators. Three different e-learning environments are presented as real examples, with their field trips’ related advantages and limitations.
This classification allows an e-learning platforms’ independency by enabling the use of various e-learning environments, which possess the respective e-learning functionalities. By the diversity of e-learning tools in the classification groups, it serves also as an enabler to framework curriculum design that is subject independent and can serve different types of field trips and subjects.
As a next step, a framework curriculum model of e-learning enriched field trips is outlined. The curriculum model is designed at three levels in three successive modules – for novices, advanced, and experienced in e-learning. A spiral curriculum design approach is used for the three modules in order to provide opportunities for non-experienced teachers to use firstly ready-made field trip related e-learning modules and basic activities, and then to gradually accumulate experience in design and provision of more advanced such e-learning modules. Examples of developed real curricula are presented.
Finally, the main characteristics and structure of the teacher training model are described and justified, and examples of real teacher trainings are presented.