THE MOBILE SCHOOL OF LITTER AND SUSTAINABILITY IN COPENHAGEN - AN EXPLORATIVE CASE STUDY
The City of Copenhagen aims to become the cleanest capital in the European Union, and one of the cleanest cities in the world. To achieve this goal a number of actions have been established. The goal is to educate and nudge residents, tourist and other groups of people living, working or visiting Copenhagen, to use waste bins and refrain from throwing their garbage on the streets.
The City of Copenhagen also wants to become a Smart City and have begun looking into various solutions using people generated data. Tracking the flow of traffic is well known, but also using tracking technology, so e.g. waste bins themselves notify the city’s cleaning crews when it’s time to empty them.
A smart city should be a clean place for the residents and visitors to spent time in. In the City of Copenhagen 20% of the residents are children and young people under the age of 18. They live, learn and play in the city. The City has taken a special initiative targeting school children: A learning program The Mobile School of Litter and Sustainability in Copenhagen. In this program children age 6 to 16 learn about garbage and resources in school. The process starts in the classroom talking about garbage. Then the children are sent out in larger groups of 6-8 children in the local area around the school to collect litter. They are accompanied by guides and 1-2 teachers. The tools they bring are grabbers, and a garbage bin on wheels. Every time they pick up a piece of garbage they register type (but not where it was found) and number of each type. There is garbage they are not allowed to pick up, needles, broken glass and hazardous biological material and these are not registered (this means that the same needles may be laying around for a long time). They return to the classroom and with the instructors help they examine and talk about the garbage. They also talk about the City´s cost when removing the garbage, the impact on the environment and the decomposition time of the different types. They generate many different data which they carefully write down on paper, and analyze in the classroom However, at present these data do not go any further than the children and the classroom.
Our goal is to make the data useful beyond the classroom and for the City. We do this by designing an app to be downloaded and used by the children on their own mobile devices. The app will register the children’s user generated, location based data, contributing to student learning, and at the same time it can be a part of the Copenhagen Smart City Solutions.
With basis in the social constructivist thinking we frame our work through Dewey´s theory of Learning by Doing (Dewey, 2005) together with Lave and Wenger’s theory on Situated Learning (Lave & Wenger, 2015) to inform our understanding of childrens´ learning by doing in collaborative teams. We use a Design Based Research approach when designing the prototype “Litter”.
In the paper we introduce the Learning Program, the target group of children and document our design of the prototype. We report on an explorative study of the implementation and use of the app by a group of young children, their experiences with the app and with collecting litter. In a final chapter we reflect critically on our design and the explorative study.