USE OF LEARNING DIARIES IN A NATURE EDUCATION PROJECT AS AN EVALUATION TOOL
Aksaray University (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2010 Proceedings
Publication year: 2010
Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:The purpose of nature education is to enable learners to get to know the nature in its natural setting and use what is offered by the nature as the theme, material and tool of the education. Many researchers emphasize that nature education makes it possible for individuals to learn about the natural processes even in a short time span, improves their affiliation with the nature, makes them sensitive and conscious and makes contribution to their becoming individuals having ability to think independently.
Diaries allow learners to follow and evaluate their own development and learning. When learners keep diaries, they do not only write what they think about the things they have learned but also they combine their past experiences with newly-learned things and in this way they can recognize what they know and what they do not know so they can see their shortcomings. In this way, they can express the problems they have faced, the observations they have made and the results they have obtained.
Through diaries, it becomes possible to evaluate what students have done during nature education by means of written documents. Learning diaries encourage students to write their daily experiences lived within the context of nature education as a natural part of their daily lives. These diaries employed in the nature education project can be defined as students’ evaluating their conceptual understandings and provision of the feedback needed by students to improve their performance. In the present study, the student teachers were asked to write their opinions about the activities carried out within the framework of the nature education project in their dairies and then the diaries of the students were evaluated in terms of their contribution to the students’ development and in this way an example of learning dairy use in nature education was submitted to the literature.
The study group of the present study consists of 25 student teachers from 15 different universities of Turkey who participated in the project called “Nature Education in Ihlara Valley (Aksaray) and Its Surrounding Area”. This project was organized with the support of The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) on 03-12 July 2009. 14 (56%) of the participants are females and 11 (44%) are males.
The participants were asked to write dairies daily called “My dairy of Ihlara Valley and its surrounding area nature education” throughout ten-day project in order to express their opinions and feelings about the activities they performed within the context of the nature education project. In the analysis of the students’ diaries, content analysis method was used.
At the end of the study, the students’ responses given to the questions in their diaries were evaluated, and it was seen that they could clearly identify the activities they performed daily and the people they worked with. Moreover, it was found that at the end of the activities the students thought that should have learned more and they spent the greatest amount of time on thinking. Evaluation of the diaries provided the researchers organizing this education program with much feedback on the content of the education. In light of the findings of the study, it can be suggested that dairies are effective in evaluating nature education and hence students should be encouraged to keep diaries during their nature education.
Keywords: Student diaries, nature education, student teachers.